8/30/17 |Just before the playoffs last spring, Kevin Hayes wrote an essay for The Players Tribune and talked about the times during his second season where he was a healthy scratch. (Players Tribune)
Hayes said that he didn't do enough to prepare after his rookie season and that being a scratch after struggling was "embarrassing." (Players Tribune)
He added that he was "ashamed" at being a healthy scratch for Games 4 & 5 against the Penguins that season and "vowed" to himself and to the organization that he would never let them down again. (Players Tribune)
Last season Hayes responded by putting up 17 goals and 32 assists while seeing his ice time jump to 16:34 per game.
He said that he wants to prove he can play a bigger role than he has previously with the Rangers and Alain Vigneault said that Hayes will get that chance. (NHL.com)
Vigneault said that Hayes is honest with himself about his game, listens to the coaches and believes that Hayes will take advantage the opportunity in front him. (NHL.com)
Hayes said that he and his trainer have developed a plan similar to the one he used last summer to prepare and that he hopes to enter camp in better shape. (NHL.com)
On this coming season, Hayes said "it's the time to prove that I'm capable of being that guy." (NHL.com)
For a lot more on Hayes, how his third season went and more, click HERE.
Adam Rotter: A lot of the Rangers success, or failure, this season will depend upon how consistent Kevin Hayes is playing more minutes, likely playing against better players and assuming a bigger role overall. Hayes will have a lot more on his plate this season, along with Mika Zibanejad, and will need to show that he can be a consistent producer at both ends of the rink, be a responsible player and worthy of a similar deal to the one Zibanejad signed. Hayes had a tremendous first part of the year but his game fell off in the last 30 or so games and into the playoffs. There is an opportunity for Hayes to fully entrench himself into the Rangers current and future core this season but if he doesn't take advantage of it he could be someone who gets moved next summer when a bunch of players need new contracts.