There could be some hockey news today, and it could very well effect the Rangers. For seniors who just graduated this spring, and were previously drafted by an NHL team, August 15 is the deadline to sign a deal, or the player hits free agency.
And no potential free agent is more sought after than Kevin Hayes, who will likely hit the market Friday after not coming to a deal with the team that drafted him, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hayes is a top-tier talent, who was taken with the No. 24 overall pick by the Blackhawks back in 2010. In the four years since, Hayes has matured at Boston College, and was the second-leading scorer in the nation last season behind line mate and Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau.
What sets Hayes apart from his high-scoring teammate though may be his NHL-readiness. While Gaudreau is certainly an intriguing prospect, the 6-foot-3 Hayes is likely ready to contribute now, and plays a pro-style, power forward game.
Meanwhile, while many have been clamoring and questioning what the holdup is on re-signing John Moore, Hayes is likely the answer. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal is reporting the Rangers are one of four teams in the mix should Hayes hit free agency.
I'm hearing that Avalanche, Rangers, Bruins and Coyotes are in the mix for impending free agent Kevin Hayes of BC.— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) August 14, 2014
With only $1.3 million in cap space, according to Cap Geek, a deal with Hayes could eat up just about all of that number. The Rangers will get some cap relief when they make a few roster moves to trim down to 22 players for the start of the regular season, but that won't help them remain cap compliant in the present.
The relationship between Hayes and the Blackhawks has long deteriorated, and Hayes has had no intention of signing with Chicago for quite some time, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Hayes, who played his college hockey in Boston, and was born in a local Boston neighborhood Dorchester, makes sense for the Bruins. The Rangers Boston College connection comes in the form of Chris Kreider, who won a national championship playing alongside Hayes back in 2012.