5:42PM: Hayes' contract is worth $5.125 million, a number that Larry Brooks calls "surprisingly high."
5:39PM: Kevin Hayes will avoid arbitration with the Rangers and sign a one-year deal worth just over $5 million. (Elliotte Friedman)
Hayes will be a UFA after next season.
Reports circulated over the weekend that Hayes and the Rangers were running into issues on a long-term deal and that a one-year deal was the most likely solution.
From the Rangers release:
- Hayes, 26, skated in 76 games with the Rangers this past season, registering 25 goals and 19 assists for 44 points, along with a plus-one rating and 18 penalty minutes.
- He established career-highs in several categories in 2017-18, including goals, even strength goals (17), power play goals (six), shorthanded goals (two), power play points (eight), shots on goal (172), average ice time (17:21), faceoff wins (562), faceoffs taken (1,112), and faceoff win percentage (50.5%), and tied his career-high in game-winning goals (four).
- Hayes has skated in 310 career NHL games over four seasons (2014-15 - 2017-18), all with the Rangers, registering 73 goals and 101 assists for 174 points, along with a plus-30 rating and 88 penalty minutes.
- He has recorded at least 40 points in three of his four NHL seasons, and he has also tallied at least 17 goals in three of his four seasons in the league.
- Through Hayes' first four NHL seasons, 140 of 174 points have either been a goal or the primary assist on a goal (80.5% of his points have been primary points), and 67 of his 101 career NHL assists have been primary assists.
Adam Rotter: So Kevin Hayes is signed and now the countdown begins to when he will almost certainly be traded. Any team that acquires him, or if the Rangers keep him, can start talking long-term extension next summer, but unless Hayes and the Rangers work out a specific place he wants to go to, I'm guessing Hayes will enter July 1, 2019 as one of the top players available. He's a valuable player on this team and has shown tremendous growth in his time in the NHL, especially with how he bounced back from his sophomore slump and benching. He's someone that the Rangers could certainly use as a building block, but with Mika Zibanejad already locked up and Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson and Brett Howden on the way, space down the middle is limited. I do think that the Rangers could have locked Hayes up long-term and kept him in the middle as the three-young players adjusted to being full-time NHLers and then they could have moved him two-years into the deal the same way they did with Derek Stepan. Ultimately though it seems as if Hayes' long-term future will be down the middle for another team.