Can Kevin Hayes Crack a Spot on the Rangers
During the latter stages of the month of August, the Rangers managed to land coveted free agent forward, Kevin Hayes. Hayes, age 22, played for Boston College last year and tallied 65 points in 40 games.
Many Rangers fans were jubilant when the team announced the signing, as they should be. NHL.com recently put out the top 60 prospects and the Rangers only had 1 – Hayes (at 49). The 6-foot-5, 205 pound winger can really prove to be an excellent addition to this New York squad.
The only question at hand is, can he make the team?
From what it looks like now, the top six forward positions are set. Where the real competition lies is within the third and fourth lines. With Carl Hagelin, Dominic Moore, Lee Stempniak and Tanner Glass pretty much guaranteed spots on the bottom six, there are two positions up for grabs.
As we all know, NYR signed Matt Lombardi and now Ryan Malone, so they will have to compete against prospects like JT Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Danny Kristo, and of course, Kevin Hayes.
Usually, a good writer won’t implement his or her own opinion into an article for various reasons. However, I feel it is necessary to get my point across. I think that it is very reasonable to say that Kevin Hayes can secure a spot on the opening day roster.
I believe that he has great finishing power and good hands with average speed as his only knock. Additionally, I think it’s time for the Rangers to inject some more youth into this lineup and have Hayes develop properly.
Lastly, he also has another thing going for him – Chris Kreider. Kreider and Hayes played with each other at Boston College from 2010-2012. Perhaps reignite some chemistry in the future? We will have to see.
Speaking of what we will see, the Rangers have begun the 2014 Traverse City Tournament, which Hayes is a part of. He got off to a shaky start as he was moved from his normal wing position to center. Perhaps in an effort to see if he can grab a spot where the Rangers feel they are weakest. His -2 opening effort could be a short lived experiment but this is certainly one of the more intriguing things to look for during this tournament.
Overall, as said before, Kevin Hayes has a very good opportunity in front of him. If he plays his cards right, then maybe we’ll see him in a Rangers sweater soon.
Chris Kreider during his college days (2012)