Kevin Hayes’ one-year contract didn’t change his plans. The center still wants to spend his entire career with the New York Rangers.
Kevin Hayes signed a one year deal with the New York Rangers in July. The new deal will make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but he still believes he will be a lifelong Blueshirt.
“I’m a Boston kid, but I absolutely love New York City and I would love to be there my entire career,”
Kevin Hayes said to Dan Rosen of NHL.com on Friday before playing in the fourth annual Comm Ave Charity Classic, a game between Boston University and Boston College alumni to benefit the Travis Roy Foundation and Compassionate Care ALS.
At the time, this was the best deal for Hayes and the Rangers. Becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year had nothing to do with his decision to sign the contract, it was just the result of signing the contract.
The 26-year-old forward, who has 174 points (73 goals, 101 assists) in 310 games with New York, said he spoke to Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton two hours after he signed on July 30 and was reassured that the team has no intention of trading him this season. He also doesn’t view the one-year contract as a prove-it contract for him, especially after he scored a career-high 25 goals last season.
He also doesn’t view the one-year contract as a prove-it deal for him, especially after he scored a career year.
General manager Jeff Gorton believes everything will work out at in the end.
“In a perfect world, Kevin Hayes is here after one more year and we keep going with him. Everything goes the way he wants it to and we do,” Gorton said to Rosen. “We certainly have (the salary cap) room to keep him and move forward, it’s just a matter of the contract. As we went through the process, the one-year deal seemed to be the best fit for what we’re doing right now.”
Hayes is coming off a career year that saw him lead the Rangers with 507 total defensive zone faceoffs and started 57.28 percent of his 5-on-5 shifts either in the defensive zone or the neutral zone.
This season will be the first without Alain Vigneault as his head coach, but his close relationship with new head coach David Quinn should lead to a smooth transition.
Hayes doesn’t need to prove himself this season. He only needs to be as consistent as he was last year as the team’s number two center.