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Part two of the dynamic duo called up in 2012 is Jimmy Hayes.  I had really high hopes for this kid this season, but his presence was merely a teaser of his future potential on the Blackhawks, as well as a potentially promising indication of what’s to come.

I have a soft-spot in my heart for the big guy.  For one thing, he’s American.  Secondly, he is 22 years old.  Lastly, and most importantly, Jimmy’s frame is built to bruise.  Standing 6’6″ tall and weighing in at over 220 lbs, Jimmy has the body to hit and hit hard.

Jimmy started the season strong, scoring 2 points in his first three professional games.  He netted 2 points in three different games for the Hawks.  Not bad for a kid playing just above 10:00 per game on the season.  Hayes started the season as a top line forward and netted 7 points in his first 10 NHL games.

Unfortunately, Hayes was a part of the player carousel that the Blackhawks had going this season, and it prevented him from developing any sort of offensive consistency, dropping in the depth chart towards the end of the season.

Jimmy played in 31 total games for the Hawks, but ended up 13th on the team in hits with 50.  Not bad for a guy paying less than half a season and averaging 10 minutes per game.  Not bad at all.

Perhaps the most impressive Jimmy Hayes stat is that he is the only Blackhawk other than Brandon Bollig to not give up a single giveaway.  ZERO.  Jimmy had 12 takeaways.

Jimmy Hayes has a good head on his shoulders too, with a work ethic that is truly admirable.  Although only playing two games in the series against the Coyotes, Hayes and former Icehog teammate Dylan Olsen stayed on the ice for 40 extra minutes in Phoenix practicing.  Ben Meyer-Abbott from the Sun-Times interviewed him after this practice session.  Hayes said the following, “You always got to be ready.  You have to make sure you’re mentally ready, and physically you want to push the pace a little bit when you do the extra work, so if you get in a game you’re not behind the playoff pace the other guys are at.”

This is the exact type of work ethic and attitude you want to see in young guys.  It’s the exact type of work ethic and attitude that Hayes has, which is why I think he has a great future in the NHL.

I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed that Jimmy didn’t get more playing time or produce more offensively at the end of the season.  That being said, I have a lot of faith in Jimmy’s potential for development.  His ability to use his body to screen and hit will be a huge plus for the Blackhawks down the road.  Combine that with the great attitude and work ethic he has, and my excitement is hard to hide.