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Report: New York Rangers Targeting Blackhawks' Prospect Kevin Hayes

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The Rangers have their eye on Chicago's 2010 first round pick Kevin Hayes

Bruce Bennett

According to Larry Brooks the New York Rangers are keeping a very close eye on Chicago Blackhawks' prospect Kevin Hayes -- the team's first round pick in 2010.

Hayes has had eye-popping numbers in his career in Boston College, including last year's totals of 27 goals, 38 assists and 65 points in 40 games. The year before he had 25 points in 27 games. If Hayes and Chicago don't agree on a new contract by August 15th he will become a free agent on August 16th, and thus can be signed by any team in the NHL.

From Brooks' story:

Hayes, who is continuing to negotiate with the Blackhawks, is expected to be pursued by numerous NHL clubs. Several industry sources report they believe the Rangers will be among a handful of finalists in the bidding for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed shooting right wing, who played two seasons with Chris Kreider, should he become a free agent.

The Rangers -- who were without a 1st round pick in 2013 and 2014 also won't have one next year -- have been aggressive in pursuing NCAA free agents this summer. This situations is obviously a little different, since Hayes is a drafted player who might hit free agency due to a lack of a contract. The Rangers appear to be one of the finalists because they have spots open for him right away, and he appears to have a relationship with Kreider.

Just remember, it's great to sit and hope on situations like this, but the Blackhawks and Hayes are still negotiating. The minute they strike a deal (if they strike a deal) the dream dies and he officially enters the Blackhawks' system. And even if he does become a free agent, the Rangers need to get him to sign, and will be in competition with the other finalists. We still have at least a month to go with this, but it's obviously worth keeping an eye on. Hayes would be a nice little add to the third line, no?

Thoughts?