New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Kevin Hayes on a new contract.
Hayes, 24, skated in 79 games with the Rangers this past season, registering 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points, along with a plus-four rating and 30 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in game-winning goals (three), power play goals (three), power play points (six), and shots on goal (133), and he tied his career-high in games played in 2015-16. Hayes tied for fifth on the Rangers in even strength assists (19), ranked sixth in primary assists (14), and tied for sixth in assists, power play goals, and even strength points (30) this past season. Hayes also ranked sixth on the Blueshirts in assists per 60 minutes of ice time in 2015-16 (1.22). The Rangers earned at least one point in 24 of the 30 games in which Hayes tallied at least one point during the past season (18-6-6 record). He recorded 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his final 28 games of the regular season.
The 6-5, 227-pounder has skated in 158 career NHL games over two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), both with the Rangers, registering 31 goals and 50 assists for 81 points, along with a plus-19 rating and 52 penalty minutes. Over Hayes' first two NHL seasons, 39 of his 50 assists have been primary assists, and he ranks third on the Rangers in primary assists over the span. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, he ranks fifth on the Rangers (min. 82 games played) in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.42) and points per 60 minutes of ice time (2.30). Hayes has registered seven points (two goals, five assists) in 22 career NHL playoff games.
During his rookie season in the NHL in 2014-15, Hayes tallied 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) and posted a plus-15 rating in 79 games. He ranked second on the Rangers - and led all NHL rookies - in primary assists during the season (25). Hayes also led the Rangers in points from the All-Star break until the end of the regular season in 2014-15, as he tallied 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 38 games over the span. In the 2015 Playoffs, Hayes became the second rookie in Rangers history to tally a goal in Game 7 of a playoff series and the first to do so since Muzz Patrick in the Semifinals in 1939.
The Dorchester, Massachusetts, native was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 20, 2014. Hayes was selected by Chicago in the first round, 24th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.