Soo Greyhounds head coach John Dean is of the notion that prize Ontario Hockey League trade deadline acquisition Gavin Hayes is even better than what was expected.
Dean, appearing on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show podcast, relayed that he “had no idea how good away from the puck that Gavin is … and no idea of how good of a puck distributor that he is.”
In obtaining the 19 year old Hayes from the Flint Firebirds at the trade deadline for 18 year old forward Connor Clattenburg, 17 year old forward Alex Kostov, a second round draft pick in 2027, a third rounder in 2025, a fourth rounder in 2026 and a fifth rounder in 2025, the Greyhounds showed that they were clearly all in as they chase a Western Conference and OHL championship this season.
And thus far, Hayes has paid big dividends for the Greyhounds with five goals, six assists, 11 points in his first five outings wearing the Red and White.
“He has fit in with our culture and he is an incredible human who identifies with what we are trying to accomplish here,” Dean added in further praise of Hayes. “Gavin is even better than advertised. He is known for his shot and goal scoring ability and he has shown that. He also has very, very good intelligence to go with his all around ability. Give credit to (Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis) for going out and getting Gavin.”
To be sure, Hayes represents a prime acquisition by Raftis and the Greyhounds. In 158 regular season games with Flint, the star forward produced 79 goals, 87 assists, 166 points. He also had five goals, nine assists, 14 points in 26 playoff games for the Firebirds, who originally selected the Detroit, Michigan area product in the first round of the 2020 OHL priority selections draft.
Hayes was since drafted — and signed — by the Chicago Blackhawks, who took the skilled skater in the third round of the 2022 National Hockey League draft. He is also the older brother of Greyhound rookie forward Travis Hayes.