Hayes wants to remain with Rangers long term despite signing 1-year deal
A one-year contract doesn't mean Kevin Hayes isn't long for the Big Apple.
In an ideal world, the veteran forward would retire as a member of the New York Rangers. He says that his future with the club shouldn't be forecasted entirely by his recently inked one-year extension.
"I'm a Boston kid, but I absolutely love New York City and I would love to be there my entire career," Hayes told NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "At the moment, (a one-year contract) was best for both sides. We couldn't really come to a long-term agreement and a one-year deal is what came out of it.
"I'm not treating it like I'll be out of there in February or at the end of the year. Everyone keeps saying UFA at the end of the year, but that had nothing to do with the decision."
As Hayes notes, unless he signs a new contract before next July 1, he'll be free to sign with another club next summer, but the 26-year-old isn't setting his sights anywhere but Manhattan, while interest in retaining his services appears to be shared by team management.
"In a perfect world, Kevin Hayes is here after one more year and we keep going with him. Everything goes the way he wants it to and we do," Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton told Rosen. "We certainly have (cap) room to keep him and move forward, it's just a matter of the contract. As we went through the process, the one-year deal seemed to be the best fit for what we're doing right now."
In 76 games with the Rangers last season, Hayes netted a career-high 25 goals, and while his offensive contributions certainly can't be overlooked, he's also focused on growing his game and providing even more value for his team.
"Points and goals, that stuff is cool individually, but that's not why we play," Hayes added. "You have to be the right player on and off the ice every day. You have to show the coaches and the organization that you're a leader.
"I'm not really too worried about scoring 25 or 30 goals. I would like to, but it's not really a priority for me. It's showing up to the rink every day and showing the young guys what it takes to be a pro. I've had these talks with (Gorton) and (Rangers head coach David Quinn). I think it'll all come together."
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