The era of Kevin Hayes – in New York, with half of his decade or a favorite phrase for the end of time – is probably over, and it's hard to look at his Broadway era as a success, if not a success. The New York Rangers traded Hayes on the final day of the Winnipeg Jets against a first-round pick in 2019 Brendan Lemieux and a fourth-place pick in 2019 if the Jets won the Stanley Cup.
Hayes was one of the NCAA's most outstanding strikers to hit the free agency in recent years, and his hype was justified. He had a solid university career, with a 44-88-132 statistics line in 144 games played (0.93 against GP), but there was no guarantee that he would be producing at the NHL level. After reviewing the last five years, it is clear that the 24th choice in 2010 far exceeded expectations.
After typing the line "the last five years", I had to take a second to think. I graduated from college in 2014 and the speed with which the last five years have passed me epate. It's just as amazing to see how much Hayes grew as a player in that same period. In 361 games under the blueshirt, Hayes scored 87 goals and added 129 assists for 216 points.
By reducing the annual average, Hayes scored 20 goals, 29 assists and 49 points per season. This in itself does not seem so spectacular, nor does it say how Hayes has been used for most of his career in the NYR. If Alain Vigneault had deployed Hayes as he was this year with David Quinn, there is a good chance his annual average is closer to a player at 60 points or more per season.
Hayes is a dynamic player who has had his share of highlights, but it would have been great if the stars lined up to allow him to bring things even higher with the Blues Shirts.
According to Larry Brooks, the Rangers estimated that Hayes was not worth between $ 6 and $ 6.5 million for a five or six year contract. so they moved on to something else. It's unfortunate that they could not reach an agreement because the Rangers who landed Hayes were a real gift at a time when the pool of potential candidates was exhausted because the team had no choice of first round.
During his rookie season, Hayes had 45 points in 79 games in 13:02 on average, with virtually no power play. His 5-on-5 production was great with 36 points – including 35 primaries – and a 51.45 FC% (1.59 Rel). From the beginning, it was easy to see Hayes' potential, but the following year, while he was used in the same way, earning only 38 more points, he was the victim of the dreaded "collapse of the second shot "and finished with 36 points.
He then continued with a 49-point campaign, but it was his worst year in 5-on-5 with just 26 points and 21 main points. The 2016-17 season saw him start to have some time on the powerplay, but he was also used in a defensive role. His underlying number was also beaten, with a putrid FC of 43.54% (-5.82 Rel) and a GF% of 48.96 (-4.34 Rel).
Since this difficult year, it has returned to its usual level with a P / 60 of 1.96 (1.54 P1 / 60) with a GF% of 51.59 (10.29 Rel) in 2017-18 and a P / 60 of 2.24 (1.55 P1 / 60) with a GF% of 55 (11.52 Rel) this season. Before the start of the year, he was playing at the best of his history with a% of his CF of 51.06, which is more than 6% higher than that of his team.
Hayes is currently ready to play 71 games and score 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists at 0.81 P / GP). Extending this period throughout the season and eliminating the games that he had missed earlier this season would amount to 23 goals, 43 assists and 66 points. This line of statistics and this rate of points are comparable to those of Blake Wheeler at age 26, which Hayes compared to the production over the years. With more ice time, Hayes could follow a trajectory similar to that of his now-teammate Wheeler, as his minutes grew over the years.
With the rebuilding of the Rangers, their desire not to pay Hayes for his seasons of 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32 years makes perfect sense. I may not agree 100%, but it's not new.
The Rangers have many potential candidates who will try to overtake Mika Zibanejad, but it will not be easy to replace the Hayes 6 foot 5 inch skateboarding shoes. Filip Chytil is arguably the brightest in the pack, but he has looked good so far in his NHL career. Then there is Lias Andersson who is back with the team looking to make the most of his chances after averaging Hartford. Brett Howden also made a very hot start and ran into the rookie wall before being sidelined with an injury.
It is also possible that the Rangers take a look outside the organization, because the depth in the center is essential. The Blues Shirts know it very well, because it was an area they were struggling with when they last played in the Stanley Cup final. If you look at top ranked teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning (Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos), the Toronto Maple Leafs (John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri), the Winnipeg Jets (Mark Scheifele, Hayes and Bryan Little ). ), and San Jose sharks (Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton), there is a skill theme at the center. Although defense is the greatest weakness that the Rangers face when rebuilding, they can not afford to overlook the central position on the ice.
The good thing for the Rangers is that they have the opportunity to solve this problem over the next three years, whether using the choices they have accumulated to select a player or using them in a package to acquire a center.
In addition to the above choices, the Rangers could win other players this season if Tampa Bay wins the Stanley Cup, and if Mats Zuccarello helped the Dallas Stars qualify for the Western Conference final and play 50% of the playoffs of the team. They also have the chance to see the third round of Dallas 2020 become the first round if Zuccarello gives up. In any case, the team will have options as it has six choices in the first three rounds and a total of ten in June.
Hayes was a very good Ranger, and he did not get all the merit he deserved.
There is a subgroup of fans who felt lazy because of his skating and who thought he should have hit more because of the potential impact of his size. Although a player with a bigger frame, his strength was not his physical play, but his effective movement while having the puck on his stick a lot. You do not hit if the puck is constantly on your stick, and it was often the case when it was on the ice.
By joining the team as a natural right wing, Hayes was asked to refocus. A few years later, he also had the task of becoming the closing center of the team and, while assuming this role, he found a way to contribute in an offensive manner despite his mission. When he finally had a role more suited to his strengths this season, his production went up and the timing could not be worse for the Rangers. If Hayes had been released earlier, his value would have been more obvious to the Rangers or maybe to the league, and there is a good chance the team did not sign him for a contract from one year to last summer.
In Winnipeg, Hayes has the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup and his evolution as a player should help him to be more productive in the playoffs. Hayes has only 10 points in 34 career playoff games. He did not spend much time on Blueshirts in the playoffs, but I'm sure most of you will remember this one.
In many ways, it's a perfect representation of what Hayes was as a Ranger – a very good player who has always tried to make the most of the opportunities that were available to him.
Statistics via Natural Stat Trick unless otherwise noted.