Kevin Hayes signs with the Rangers
Coveted college free agent Kevin Hayes, originally a first-round draft pick of the Blackhawks, has signed with the New York Rangers today. The 6’2″, 201 lb. right wing just finished up a collegiate career at Boston College where he scored 44 goals and had 132 total point in 142 games.
The Blackhawks made Hayes the No. 24 pick in the 2010 draft, but could not agree to a contract in the allotted four-year post-draft window. Specifically, a team has four years to sign a draft pick if they remain in college. Upon finishing college, the team has until midnight on August 15 of the fourth year after the draft to sign the pick- if no deal is reached, the player becomes a free agent.
A similar situation arose two years ago with Justin Schultz, a second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks who was not signed after four years. Schultz ended up choosing the Edmonton Oilers in free agency.
Hayes became a free agent, and chose to sign with the Rangers. Given the forward depth that New York lost this past offseason (Brian Boyle, Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot), Hayes should have a good shot at making the team this season.