Kevin Hayes deserves to be a part of the new era Rangers
The most relevant and reliant Ranger since the trade deadline has been Kevin Hayes. Since Feb. 26th, he has had six points in seven games and has recently hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career. Hayes has 35 points on the season, with 20 goals and 15 assists.
Kevin Hayes tallied his 20th goal of the season, marking the first time he has recorded 20 goals in a season in his NHL career. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) March 11, 2018
Hayes has been a key part of the offense and especially the powerplay. With Nash, Grabner, and McDonagh absent from the powerplay, it now falls on the shoulders of Spooner, Hayes, and Zuccarello with Gilmour in the back.
Hayes has been able to net four goals with the man advantage this season.
Neal Pionk with a blocked shot that springs this Kevin Hayes goal. #nyr #mnwild pic.twitter.com/Af12hnVhF0
— Giles Ferrell (@gilesferrell) February 14, 2018
Even with a flat and faltering offense, Hayes has been able to contribute by putting shots on net. Alongside Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello, he has the third most shots with 148 this season. His shot number is already a career-high, and the team still has 12 games left to play. Additionally, his work as a center has been reputable. He has won 49.7% of the draws, and even more, his active stick in the center of the ice has caused 46 takeaways.
Hayes should be involved with this rebuild, but considering that he will be a restricted free-agent at the end of this season, it is up in the air if he will return. It is possible that he could be moved out to the wing, with Ryan Spooner, Zibanejad, Vladislav Namestnikov and the promotion of Filip Chytil and/or Lias Andersson next season, securing the center of the ice.
Most who know me, know I love JT MILLER and his game. I’m not crazy he was involved in the deal but #NYR have a lot of wingers. What they lacked was a depth at center and now they have 5 good ones for next year. ZBAD, NAMESTNIKOV, CHYTIL, ANDERSSON, NIEVES. Hayes back to W.
— Forever Blueshirts (@4EverBlueshirts) February 27, 2018
Despite the clutter of valuable forwards, Hayes must be a part of this team going forward. Even at the young age of 25, he is one of the veteran members of this team. His leadership will be important, as he will be a good mentor for Chytil and Andersson when they come up.
Kevin Hayes has shown that he deserves to be a part of the rebuild, even expressing his desire to be apart of this organization, for the long term. “I love being a Ranger. I want to be here my whole career.” (NY Post)