The Blackhawks and restricted free agent John Hayden agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension, the team announced Friday. It’s a one-way deal with an annual cap hit of $750,000, sources told the Sun-Times.
Hayden, a third-round pick in 2013, signed out of Yale with the Blackhawks in the spring of 2017. He had a brief stint with the team late in the 2016-17 season, then split his first full professional season between Chicago and Rockford.
Restricted free agency came quickly for Hayden as a result of the terms of his entry-level contract. He signed his ELC at age 22, which meant it would only be for two years, then he burned the first year of the deal by playing in 12 NHL games in 2016-17. The Hawks needed to offer Hayden incentives not to pursue free agency last year, and that deal is part of how they did it.
Hayden recorded four goals and nine assists in 47 games with the Blackhawks last season. The 23-year-old primarily played on the fourth line with Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma, where his physicality and flashes of finishing ability were fitting for the role. He also recorded five goals and 12 assists in 24 games with Rockford, although he went quiet in the playoffs with just three goals and zero assists in 13 contests.
The Blackhawks now have four remaining restricted free agents for this summer: Vinnie Hinostroza, Tomas Jurco, Anthony Duclair and Adam Clendening.
Mark Lazerus contributed reporting to this article.