In the past season and a half, Chris Kreider has developed into one of the New York Rangers‘ most valuable players. While this season was his “rookie” year, he made his impact felt during the 2012-13 NHL season with his multiple call-ups and demotions. Kreider is a graduate of Boston College, and according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, one of his best friends and former Boston College teammates might be joining him in Ranger blue.
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Kevin Hayes is a 22-year-old winger who could be on the free agent market soon. Selected 24th overall in the 2010 Entry Draft by the Blackhawks, the two sides can’t seem to agree on a contract. If Hayes and Chicago can’t agree to anything by Aug. 15, then he’ll become a free agent. While New York is showing a good amount of interest, there are other teams that want him just as badly.
Hayes is a 2014 Hobey Baker finalist who played on the same line as Calgary Flames‘ Johnny Gaudreau, the eventual Hobey Baker winner. He hasn’t been to any of Chicago’s past four summer camps, which continues the speculation of free agency. If the Rangers were to sign him, he’d be a huge help on the bottom two lines immediately with top six potential. Hayes can definitely help on the power play with his passing and vision, as well as use his 6-foot-3 frame to body some forwards around. Plus, having him play with his best friend Kreider can help chemistry and aid his development.
Potentially signing Hayes would be one of many college free agents the Rangers have signed lately. New York is in a youth movement, which is something we haven’t seen them do in a very long time. Developing players and calling them up with a tight salary cap seems like the best way to go for the Rangers.
It’s looking likely each and every day Chicago won’t sign the forward. New York would be a good fit for Hayes since he wants immediate ice time, and the Rangers can give that to him. Even though Kreider filed for salary arbitration, he’s expected to stay. This is a good match, but it all depends on if the Blackhawks can come to terms with Hayes or not.