The Kevin Hayes sweepstakes are officially closed, and the New York Rangers came out on top in the race to sign the Boston College standout. According to capgeek.com, Hayes' two-year contract - which will carry a $900,000 cap-hit for next season - is worth a potential $7.5 million, including $5.7 million in potential bonuses.
In an interview with BlueshirtsUnited.com, the 22-year-old explained his decision to sign with the Rangers amid a bevy of offers from suitors around the NHL.
“The coaching staff [in New York], everything going on there kind of fits what I was looking for,” said Hayes. “Just coming to New York will be a great opportunity for me and my family. Seeing how successful they’ve been the last couple of years was really a reason why I ultimately chose the Rangers.”
According to Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton, it appears as though Hayes will have a chance to make a contribution right from the get go.
“He’s a big man that has all kinds of skill, nice hands, hockey sense,” Gorton said. “We just saw him as - once he became available - a guy that’s pretty close to playing. He has a lot of the things we’re looking for.”
Gorton added the signing helps the club re-stock the cupboard after trading away a significant amount of assets in recent years, specifically in relation to the Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis trades.
Hayes is looking to follow a path blazed by Chris Kreider, another Boston College forward that broke into the league with the Rangers - a notion affirmed by Gorton.
"I think when Kevin was looking at the teams and he looked at the Rangers, I think he looked at the younger players we've had and we've inserted right into the lineup and have had success," Gorton said. "I think Kreider is one of those guys."
It should come as no surprise that Hayes's goal is "to be on the team come [October]"; if Kreider's path to the NHL is any indication, though, some AHL seasoning may indeed be in his future.