The day has finally come, and the once-rumor is now true. One of the top prospects formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks, Kevin Hayes, has hit the open market and is free to sign wherever he pleases. Many teams are currently in play for Hayes, one of course being the New York Rangers, whose GM Glen Sather loves to sign college players, especially ones who attend Boston College like Hayes did.
Hayes would be a great fit for the Rangers at the wing, but it is very unlikely that Sather can pull this one off and get him to sign with this offseason.
The reason why Hayes did not want to sign with the team that drafted him is because at 22 years old, he wants a guaranteed spot on an NHL roster and the Blackhawks, being a Stanley Cup contender for the last several of years now, just do not have room for him on their roster for this upcoming season.
The Rangers do have a spot on their active roster that Hayes can win, and that is the fourth-line winger spot. While the Rangers could and should guarantee Hayes that spot on their roster this season, he will probably not be all that thrilled to play on the fourth line.
Winger Chris Kreider could play a factor in these negotiations as Hayes and Kreider were linemates in Boston College, but rumor has it that even though both players got along fine, they were not exactly the best of friends. Who Hayes is good friends with, however, are Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold, who both just happen to play for the Calgary Flames.
The Flames may not be the best of teams, but they are up and coming, and if Hayes signs there, he could potentially start on the same line with his friends on one of the top two scoring lines come opening day. This makes the Flames one of the front-runners to land Hayes.
Another contender could very well be the Florida Panthers. The Panthers, like the Flames, are another young team who will likely not be contenders this upcoming season, but Hayes could get a shot to play on the Panthers’ first line. Oh, and to top it all off, the Panthers have a player currently on their roster named Jimmy Hayes, who just happens to be Kevin’s big brother.
I think it is pretty obvious that Hayes will either sign with the Flames or the Panthers. For the Rangers to sign him to a deal, Sather will need to work some kind of magic.
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