Tonight at 11:59 p.m., Blackhawks property RW, Kevin Hayes will very likely become an unrestricted free agent as it doesn’t seem likely the two sides will be able to strike a deal.
According to Mike G. Morreale at NHL, the Rangers are expected to be one of the teams interested in Hayes’ services.
Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, NHL teams have four years to a sign a player, so long as he remains a college student over that period. When the player officially exits college, the team retaining his rights must sign him by 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 15 in that same offseason. If he isn’t signed, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Despite becoming a free agent, the 22-year old Hayes would still need to agree on an entry level deal with a maximum cap hit of $900,000 per year.
The Boston College product, and former Chris Kreider teammate, was third in the NCAA in scoring last season with 27g, 38a and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
Last month, Larry Brooks at the New York Post reported the Rangers were going to keep an eye on the situation.
Calgary and Florida are said to be front runners to land Hayes.
…rumors are that the Hayes family has had issues with the Blackhawks organization in the wake of Kevin’s brother Jimmy being traded from Chicago to Florida last season, which has led to this contract squabble. While that seems petty, I don’t have all the details of the situation, so I’d hate to point fingers.
…all I know is that the 6′ 4″, 216lb forward is supposed to be a stud and at the bargain basement price of $900K, how can the Rangers not be interested. Having a prior relationship with Kreider is definitely a feather in Sather’s cap as he could use that as leverage to sell Hayes on coming to New York.
…as far as where he’d fit on the current Rangers team? I guess that depends on how he and others perform in training camp, but from all reports, the kid is said to be NHL ready so if the Blueshirts are able to win the Hayes sweepstakes, guys like Stempniak, Lombardi, Miller and Lindberg better come to play or they’ll find themselves in Hartford to start the season.