Looking at Kevin Hayes’ Next Rangers Contract

Gauging Kevin Hayes' next contract.

By Luca Marquardt
Kevin Hayes (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Kevin Hayes is just one of the many RFA situations the New York Rangers have to deal with this offseason. He is coming off of a two-year contract that paid him an annual salary of 2.6 million dollars (CapFriendly), and before that a two-year entry level contract worth 900,000 dollars. In 2017-18, Hayes was third on the Rangers in points, finishing with 25 goals and 19 assists, good for 44 points.

Hayes is part of the future

Hayes is a sure shot to return for the Rangers next year, but what we’re looking at today is how the Rangers are going to handle his contract situation. As I said before, he is just one of the RFAs the Blueshirts have to deal with, the other notable ones being Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Vesey, Vladislav Namestnikov, Brady Skjei, John Gilmour, and Rob O’Gara. None are coming off very high contracts, yet there are some who deserve big raises. Namestnikov and Spooner are interesting cases, as they both have been mentioned in trade talks, despite being traded to the Rangers only four months ago.

New York has 24 million dollars in cap space going into the re-sign period, which they should be able to use it very wisely. That number could rise to 30 million if the cap ceiling goes to 80 million dollars.

Let’s say one of Namestnikov or Spooner gets traded at the draft. That gives the Rangers about 3-4 million dollars in leeway now. They can then use that money for UFAs come July 1st. Either way, there are many directions the RFA situation could go, be it with or without some players.

Hayes’ Next Deal

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Going off of the contract Mika Zibanejad earned last year, Hayes could make something similar to that. Although he was injured for a big part of the year, he still produced well and got himself a 5.35 million dollar 4-year contract.

Hayes is the Rangers’ number two center as of now, and there’s no reason for the Rangers to not treat him like they did Zibanejad last year. In an ideal world, Hayes would accept a four- or five-year contract, worth something between 4 and 5 million dollars. With the Rangers projected to do much better this upcoming season, Hayes could up his production greatly. Also with new Head Coach David Quinn, he is bound to improve. Because of that, Hayes could ask for more money, but less term.

I believe that is the general range that Hayes’ contract should be in, but it all comes down to his decision. Jeff Gorton has a lot of work to do this summer, and Hayes is certainly high on his priority list.

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