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Blackhawks acquire John Quenneville from Devils for John Hayden

Quenneville is the cousin of the former Chicago head coach and was a 2014 first-round pick.

Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Blackhawks made their first trade of the 2019 NHL Draft weekend Saturday afternoon when they acquired center John Quenneville from the Devils in exchange for forward John Hayden.

Quenneville, a 23-year-old Edmonton native, is the cousin of former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville and was a 2014 first-round selection (30th overall) of the Devils. The younger Quenneville’s entry-level deal expired at the end of the last season and he’s currently a restricted free agent.

Hayden, 24, was a 2013 third-round pick (74th overall) of the Blackhawks and made his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season. But the 6-foot-3, 215-pound forward never turned that size into consistent NHL time. He played 47 games in the ‘17-18 season, scoring four goals with nine assists. His production declined even further last season, as Hayden notched just three goals and two assists in 54 games while often being a healthy scratch.

John Quenneville, meanwhile, hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing in New Jersey. He’d played just 14 games heading into the 2018 offseason, but broke camp with the Devils last September and appeared ready to earn consistent NHL playing time. He only lasted five games, however, and was sent back down to the AHL before Halloween. Quenneville was called back to the NHL three more times during the ‘18-19 season and scored just one goal in 19 games.

Should the Blackhawks re-sign Quenneville and he ends up in the AHL, he could be a major contributor for the Rockford IceHogs. Quenneville scored 14 goals with 20 assists in 43 games with the AHL’s Binghamton Devils in ‘17-18. Last season, he was a point-per-game player for Binghamton with 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) in 37 games.