Boston College outgoing senior Kevin Hayes became an unrestricted free agent last week after choosing not to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks by last Friday's August 15th deadline. Today, it appears Hayes has made a decision on where he will play his professional hockey. Multiple sources are confirming that Hayes will sign with the New York Rangers. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
Hayes is a big signing for the Rangers. He formed one-third of the nation's best line last season at Boston College, along with Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold. We ranked Hayes as the top NHL prospect in all of college hockey last season, due in large part to his combination of size--measuring just north of 6'2" 200 lbs.--and ability to make plays offensively.
Hayes was rumored to not want to sign with Chicago because of the Hawks relationship with his older brother Jimmy, who was traded by the Blackhawks to Florida in 2012. Signing with the Rangers means the younger Hayes will jump immediately to another Cup contender, and should help bolster a strong Rangers forward corp with the addition of a strong, scoring power forward. SBN College Hockey's Evan Sporer covered Boston College last season, and wrote an excellent primer on what Rangers fans can expect from Hayes in the coming year.