He may not get many votes for the Calder Trophy this season, but New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes has been making as much of an impact as the top rookies.
With each passing game this season, first-year starter Kevin Hayes continues to impress and impress.
You have to go back 26 years to find the last time the Rangers had a rookie named the NHL’s Top Rookie. In 1989, that rookie was Brian Leetch.
Yes, it’s been that long since the team has had a winner.
Originally the property of the Chicago Blackhawks, it is no wonder he was picked in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Just to show where he stacked up with that year’s talent, look at the names picked before him that year:
In that group, someone included Hayes in that talent pool.
And fortunately for general manager Glen Sather and the Rangers organization, he was made available after he chose not to sign with Chicago. Even though he was drafted by the Blackhawks originally, they could not corral the former Boston College standout.
Based on reports, Hayes wanted to play, and PLAY NOW. And, he wasn’t willing to wait for the opportunity.
At the time, the Rangers had a couple of vacancies to fill, notably at right wing and center.
And the timing could not be better. Perhaps chomping on his cigar, fumbling through prospect reports through his wide-lens glasses saw this kid Hayes available, and said why not.
New York Rangers
The rest, as they say, is history!
To say the Rangers are reaping the rewards with the signing of Hayes would be a understatement. This season, he has become one of the main reasons the team is where they are.
He’s 6’5, 225 lbs. frame was needed on the team after this offseason. So far he hasn’t disappointed.
In his first year, he has registered 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists). Not nearly enough to put him in the running for the NHL’s top rookie. He may get lucky with getting a vote or two from the voters.
But, if you’re a Rangers fan, you know what Hayes has brought to the team this season. He’s a two-way center that has a combination of size and skill.
Hockeyfutursfuture.com had this to say about Hayes:
"“The younger of the two Hayes brothers, Kevin has the potential to develop into a solid two-way forward at the pro level. Like his older brother Jimmy, Kevin has a decent frame at 6’2″ but plays more of a finesse style. His offensive awareness and playmaking ability allow him to create chances and open up space for his teammates.”"
Though, he probably won’t win the Calder Trophy, he’s still a successful rookie for the Rangers and he’s becoming an important piece in the team’s plans for the future.
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