NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers were reconfigured after losing the 2014 Stanley Cup Final in five games to the Los Angeles Kings. Depth at certain positions, center in particular, was a big question following the departures of Brad Richards and Brian Boyle.
One of the replacements was Kevin Hayes, who won a national championship in 2012 and was a 2014 Hobey Baker Award finalist during his four seasons at Boston College. The No. 24 pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL Draft, Hayes signed with the Rangers as a free agent after he could not agree to a contract with the Blackhawks.
Hayes excelled in college as a wing, but he broke camp with the Rangers slotted in as third-line center. The requisite adjustment period led to a slow start; he had 15 points in his first 40 games before blossoming into an integral part of the Rangers, who won the Presidents' Trophy.