With the New York Rangers losing forwards Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett newcomer Kevin Hayes believes there’s an opportunity to be had at training camp.
The Boston College product, who chose to sign a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Rangers earlier this month, spoke to the Rangers website about his decision.
“At the end of my BC career we sat down with my family and thought that it was best to explore other options,” he said. “It wasn’t really hectic cause I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone until Aug. 15 so I basically had a free three months to train, hangout and relax. But ever since Aug. 15, it’s been pretty hectic.
“Ultimately I chose the Rangers and I’m extremely excited about it.”
Hayes admitted former Boston College teammate, and current Ranger, Chris Kreider called him to sell him on New York while he was making his decision.
“He called me Aug. 15 late and kind of just broke down everything about the city the good, the bad and stuff,” he said. “I only talked to him a couple times on the phone.
“Kreids was my line mate the year we won the national championship and it’s always nice to have one of your good buddies on the team. Hopefully he can show me the ropes.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed shot scored 27 goals and 65 points in 40 games during his final season at Boston College. In total, he appeared in 142 games for the Eagles scoring 44 goals and 132 points.
Hayes, 22, was originally a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (24th overall in 2010).
According to the Massachusetts native, Alain Vigneault’s style in addition to talking to Kreider and Boyle is what helped him settle on the Rangers.
“The coach… I really like the style the coach plays so I figured this would be the best opportunity for me,” he said.
Hayes says his ultimate goal is to crack the Ranges lineup this season. Despite the aforementioned departures, the Rangers did bring in NHL veterans such as Tanner Glass, Lee Stempniak and Matthew Lombardi so Hayes will have competition as he tries to make the jump from college hockey to the NHL.
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