We mentioned this last month that there was a possibility 24th overall pick in 2010 Kevin Hayes would not sign with the Blackhawks and therefore become a free agent on August 16th when the deadline rolls around. It’s just over a week away from August 16th and the Boston College product is still at a deadlock with the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions and is planning to walk when the time comes. When that time comes, the Rangers would be smart to use that 10% additional summer cap (John Moore is still unsigned) and try to add Hayes to the lineup to join past teammate Chris Kreider.
Hayes has a mixture of both size, speed, and talent. He is 6’3″ and 205 pounds yet was a finalist for the Hobey Baker this year with 27 goals and 38 assists for 65 points, playing alongside stud Johnny Gaudreau. Hayes would have a max cap hit of $900,000 (before bonuses are added) and would be eligible/required to sign a 2-year entry level deal. The Rangers have already went the college-route this season to sign players since they had a lack of draft picks due to recent trades.
Scouts feel Hayes could step into the NHL next season with a strong training camp and then work his way up from there. He is touted to be a top-6 forward with quick feet and knack for finding the net which would go a long way for the Rangers this season. Lacking some depth in many offensive areas, Hayes would be a perfect fit to help boost the Rangers and give them another added injection of hungry youth into the lineup. He will come cheaper than most and has plenty of upside for the future should he impress. Ultimately, Kevin Hayes will hold the final decision as the money will be entry-level in any case….let’s hope the Rangers make a big play and Kreider helps talk the 22-year old into taking on The Big Apple.