Rangers Among Five Teams In Hot Pursuit of Kevin Hayes
Kevin Hayes, the six foot three, two hundred and five pound winger from Boston College is a UFA. That is Unrestricted Free Agent to you and me. UFA is a Hockey term.
The former first round pick and 24th selection overall of the Chicago Blackhawks is now free to sign with any of the 29 other NHL teams. And if you are asking why not sign with the Blackhawks, who have won two Stanley Cups in the past five years; I guess it was because he wanted to play right away and not stay in the Minors half a season. Yes, the Blackhawks are packed. Yes, the Blackhawks are contenders year in and year out. And yes, they have their team already set. Probably why Hayes did not want to sign there.
Instead, he chose to stay at BC and it was there he won a National Championship and went to the Frozen Four again this past season. He has played for a legendary head coach and has had some very talented team mates, some of who are currently NHL’ers themselves.
Now the Update. Providence Journal reporter, Mark Divver has four to five teams active in the hunt to sign Hayes. His report puts our NY Rangers right in the mix. Mostly because the Rangers are a good fit (Hayes could compete for playing time right away) and his former line mate, Chris Kreider is a very important part of the Broadway Blueshirts.
Other sources have the Boston Bruins (Hayes is from the Boston area) in hot pursuit, as both GM Peter Chiarelli and HC Claude Julien have made overtures to the former BC Eagle.
The Colorado Avalanche, with fiery HC and former Goaltender, Patrick Roy are one of the four to five teams, according to a source.
The Calgary Flames are also a contender, because two of Hayes’ former team mates: Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau currently are in their system.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are also a contender, Hayes’ cousin is in the system there.
Boston and Pittsburgh are in cap hell right now, Calgary has not made the playoffs in years, Colorado is close to the salary cap ceiling and the Rangers still have some room to maneuver. Right now, it is anyone’s guess where the young man will land.
But Kevin Hayes is no ordinary young man. Listed at 6’3” and 205 lbs, he is a rugged player who knows how to score. In 40 games for the Eagles last season, he scored 27 goals, dished out 38 assists and totaled 65 points. In, yes folks, just 40 games. He was a main reason that the Eagles made it to the Frozen Four.
According to Divver and other sources close to the story; Hayes is going to meet with either four or all five of the teams mentioned on Monday, August 25, and have his decision by day’s end.
I, for one, hope he signs with the NY Rangers, for I believe he can fit right in with the team. He may not be as strong or as fast as Chris Kreider, but the way he can skate and score; I see him making the team as a 3rd or 4th line player, seeing some time on the second power play unit and maybe even some time on the penalty kill unit.
All in all, GM Glen Sather should work hard on trying to secure this young player; to add to some of the other very good, very young talent already in the Rangers system. It will also make up a little for not having a first round draft pick the last two drafts. But believe me, I am not complaining about that. Those two deals brought Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis to New York; and believe me, the Broadway Blues never make it to the Cup Finals without either of those stars.
Memo to Slats: Call Kevin Hayes, sign Kevin Hayes!
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