When the New York Rangers acquired center Kevin Hayes from the Chicago Blackhawks from free agency over the summer break, New York knew exactly what they were getting. The six foot five, former Boston College star is a super star in the making. He has NHL in his blood and is quickly turning into a rookie phenom for Broadway.
The former first round pick of the Blackhawks has made quite a name for himself in his short stint in the league as of late. In fifty one games the rookie has ten goals and twenty five points, making him seventh of the team in scoring. While his face-off percentage is below par (35.8 %), his current line consisting of J.T. Miller and Carl Hagelin has really become a special unit for the Rangers. As of late, they have been the most consistent and constantly giving the rest of the team energy.
Kevin Hayes has been impressing the coaching staff all season with his play. Despite being a rookie, Hayes has been making plays only a season veteran would make. He has quickly matured since training camp and is producing on a nightly basis, contributing to success for a red hot Rangers team.
Right now, he is on a five game point streak, with three goals and seven points. Since the All-Star break, Hayes has really shown his teammates what he is capable of. His on ice vision is something most players take years to develop when coming into the league and his poise with the puck is second to none.
His coaches even show how much faith they have in the kid, because head coach Alain Vigneault has him killing penalties and on the power play. Hayes’ immaturity is showing in the face-off dot, but he is still adjusting from college to professional hockey. Center is not his natural position (a winger in college) and it will take time to learn the proper mechanics, but when he fully matures and learns the game he will be one dangerous player.
Hayes is developing quickly and producing on regular basis under Vigneault. He is second on the team in shooting percentage with 15.4 %, just under Rick Nash, the second leading scorer in the NHL. The Rangers have picked up a gem and if Hayes continues to produce and develop the way he has this season, down the stretch he will be a very valuable player.