Why New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes Was a Big Surprise


The 24th overall pick in the 2010 draft was possessed by the Chicago Blackhawks. With this selection, the Hawks chose a forward from Boston College by the name of Kevin Hayes. On August 20th, 2014, the New York Rangers signed Hayes to a contract.

While playing for Boston College, Hayes had an impressive four years. And for two of those years, Hayes played alongside Rangers’ star forward, Chris Kreider. Playing in 142 games for BC included 44 goals and 88 assists for 132 points for Hayes.

In his first season in the NHL, Hayes played in 79 games for the Rangers, contributing 17 goals and 28 assists, as well as seven points in the Playoffs. Hayes showed promise during the whole season and was one of the Rangers’ best players overall.

More from Editorials

One of the most difficult things about Hayes was at the beginning of the season; Hayes was always wanting to make the pass. Game after game, Hayes tried too hard to get that pass through when he really didn’t have to. He’d have the goalie far out of the crease with a good opportunity to score, but instead Hayes would try to look to make a cross crease pass that would be deflected wide and then the offense would have to settle of then switch to defense. Thankfully, that little funk went away and Hayes’ numbers went up from then on.

As I spend my days watching highlights of all of the Rangers players from this past season, I keep finding plays that Hayes has made that were simply outstanding. He’s a big body on the ice, weighing in at 225 pounds, so he’s big enough to hit but also big enough to protect the puck.

Look at this video here:

Lets break down what Hayes did here:

  1. Hayes starts the rush in his own zone, and we see him pick up speed as he sees the middle of the neutral zone is empty (0:06).
  2. Hayes beats his man at the blue line, and then beats his man again at the hashmarks on the face-off circle (0:11-0:14).
  3. Hayes gets around his man again as he tries to cut down the angel. In the same movement, Hayes also beats Varlamov with a Rick Nash like move around the crease (0:15-0:17).

Hayes is such a strong skater both on and off the puck. Take another look at one of the goals from this past season.

Hayes was at the blue line fresh off a line change, and the puck was quickly given a lead pass by winger, Mats Zuccarello.

  1. Hayes separates himself between his man and protects the puck (0:05).
  2. Although the defender slows Hayes down a little, Hayes remains in control of the puck (0:06).
  3. Hayes pulls off a deke against goalie Jaroslav Halak, and buries the puck in the net (0:07-0:09).

Did you see how strong Hayes was in both videos? It’s unreal. Hayes is such a powerful guy and plays a good two way game of hockey. And during the Playoffs Hayes had shown signs of brilliance on both sides of the rink.

Hayes was one of the best players the Rangers had last year. Hayes remained consistent throughout the year and proved he could play in the NHL. Next year will be a very big year for him for sure.

Next: As the World Turns for the New York Rangers

More from Blue Line Station