2021-22 Team: Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Date of Birth: May 14, 2004
Place of Birth: Westland, Michigan
Height: 6-foot-1, Weight: 176 pounds
Position: Right wing
Eligibility: First-year draft eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters): 51st
- FC Hockey: 80th
- Recruit Scouting: 63rd
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 100th
- Smaht Scouting: 95th
Gavin Hayes is a right winger who played for the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2021-22, where he finished with 19 goals and 49 points in 65 games. He also added four goals and 11 points in 14 games for the Firebirds in the playoffs.
Related: 2022 THW NHL Draft Guide
Though Hayes’ numbers don’t pop off the page, he’s got some offensive upside due to his playing style. A big part of his offensive game is that he’s a strong forechecker who isn’t afraid to create havoc behind the net, as well as in front of the net. In addition to his work on the forecheck, he has an impressive shot, which will only get better as he adds more strength to his frame. When given time and space, he can wire the puck:
Hayes is also a good skater who isn’t afraid to start the attack on the rush. He might not be a play-driving winger in the NHL, but he shouldn’t be a drag on his linemates because he can’t play off the rush. It’s the best of both worlds with him; he can play off the rush, but he’s also a capable forechecker.
Another positive about Hayes is most of his goal scoring came at even strength. Of his 19 regular-season tallies, 16 of them came at even strength. Twenty-four of his 32 even-strength points were also primary points, which is usually a good indicator of future scoring. With further development and a more prominent role for the Firebirds next season, he could be in line for a relatively big jump in his counting totals.
Other THW Draft Profiles
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- Gleb Trikozov
- Logan Cooley
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Gavin Hayes – Draft Projection
Every scouting service that has Hayes ranked has him in their top 100, with a couple having him just outside the top 60. In all likelihood, a team picks him somewhere in the late second round to early third round. His style of being able to play off the rush but also being an aggressive forechecker will appeal to teams looking to add a power forward with goal-scoring potential to their system in the middle rounds.
“Gavin Hayes is a north-south winger who heads to hard areas in the offensive zone to make himself available for scoring opportunities. What stood out the most with Hayes throughout this game was his combination between his mobility and motor. He moves well and is able to get up and down the ice efficiently with strong top-end speed and isn’t shy about playing aggressively on the forecheck and finishing his checks on opposing defensemen. He works hard to get to hard areas in the offensive zone, including both the goalmouth and below the goal line, and often opted to park himself in front of the opponent’s net to make himself available to teammates for scoring or rebound opportunities. On occasion, Hayes displayed above-average puck skills but did not do much to create offense off of his own stick. In his own zone, Hayes was generally well-positioned but did little to assist his defensemen in generating breakups…” – Brandon Holmes, FC Hockey.
“Hayes is a good skater with decent top-end speed who likes the north-south game. He uses his speed and size effectively as he can get in on the forecheck and is not shy about getting physical when on top of the opposition’s defence. That’s great for a power forward in the making, but if the game moves east-west, he seems to get lost in that.” – Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers.
- Playing off the rush
- Net-front presence
Under Construction — Improvements to Make
- Being able to play more than just a north-south game
- In-zone defensive coverage
If Hayes reaches his potential, he could become a third-line power forward who sees times on the power play as a net-front presence or as a shooter in position for one-timers.
Risk: 3/5, Reward: 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense: 7/10, Defense: 6/10
Gavin Hayes Statistics
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Advanced stats from Pick224
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Alex Chauvancy is a New Jersey Devils writer for The Hockey Writers who has a penchant for advanced stats, prospects, signings and trades. He previously wrote for Devils Army Blog, a New Jersey Devils fan blog, from 2015-2017