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Hayes Excels in New Role as Shutdown C with Upside


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Last season, Hayes had career-best productivity on a semi-sheltered line with Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller, but finished with a staggeringly high 59.3% defensive zone start (dZS) rate. While not always deployed against top players, Hayes and his linemates were often given tough zone starts, suggesting that he had Vigneault?s trust and nodding towards Hayes? maturation as a player.

 

To this point in the season, despite what preseason expectations might have been, he still has tough dZS rate of 58.55% and is pacing a disappointing 34 points. This is not the production you want out of a top-six center and, realistically, is lower than Hayes? skill set should allow. But while we might be disappointed in his point production, as a whole Hayes has evolved into an effective shutdown center who, is still dangerous and shows the potential for greater production.

 

While 30-something points doesn?t scream productivity, Hayes is a strong chance generator in an almost laughably difficult position for a top-six player. Of centers who have played 300 minutes, who have a dZS rate of at least 58%, and have taken 200 defensive-zone faceoffs, just three players have a stronger high danger chances for (HDCF) rate than his 52.53%. Of the four, [Mikael Backlund (54.64%), Andrew Copp (57.95%), Mikko Koivu (60.12%), and Tim Schaller (59.35%)] only Koivu and Backlund play more minutes and have more points.

 

But therein lies the difficulty in both understanding Hayes? role and, in turn, appreciating his game. While Copp and Schaller are well-defined bottom-six centers who don?t play big minutes or get matched against opponents? top lines, Koivu plays on the Wild?s top line and Backlund is used in a heavy defensive role for the Flames to compliment their other centers (Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett) who get consistently favorable zone starts. For Vigneault, this season, giving Hayes a larger role means using him in all three of these roles, which metastasizes with a heavy dZS and, as a byproduct of being complimented in the middle-six by David Desharnais, makes Hayes a shutdown center.

 

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At times, Hayes? cerebral play draws the ire of Rangers? fans, who think that slowness is a lack of effort. But Hayes plays a calculated game and even decides when he?s going to use his size and reach. He doesn?t play with the hustle, speed, or attitude to be constantly noticed (which, to be fair, is somewhere he needs to improve), but sometimes that just means being in the right spot.

 

With neither a defense-first center like Dominic Moore or a highly productive but favorable-start-dependent center (i.e. David Krejci) in the lineup, Hayes isn?t being used in a top-six role, at least, not in the traditional sense. In essence, Vigneault is asking him to fill both roles of middle-six centers where most fit one. But because the Rangers have no other defensively oriented center to lean on, Hayes has been thrown into a shutdown role and managed rather well for it.

 

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Thanks, good read.

 

I think you really hit the nail on the head by saying Hayes' game is unique. I can't think of anybody like him.

 

I'd say his development as a player is something to be proud of. He played the wing in college, he couldn't win a draw to save his life as a rookie. Now look at him.

 

More production is needed, but we know he's capable and I'd rather start to build production towards 50-55 points from here than have him freelance 55 points and be a liability elsewhere.

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Thanks, good read.

 

I think you really hit the nail on the head by saying Hayes' game is unique. I can't think of anybody like him.

 

I'd say his development as a player is something to be proud of. He played the wing in college, he couldn't win a draw to save his life as a rookie. Now look at him.

 

More production is needed, but we know he's capable and I'd rather start to build production towards 50-55 points from here than have him freelance 55 points and be a liability elsewhere.

 

I've bought into the idea that he's something of a Joe Thornton lite. Especially in the way he slows the game down with the puck on his stick.

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I'd have to say that (and yes I'm stating the obvious) that he is being "formed" into that Stepan role. Has to be a tough role, but imo, he is one of the biggest surprises thus far this year......despite his low production. I've been seeing a different Hayes in the last 5-7 games and of course.......he gets injured at the peak of him feeling his oats. Come back soon Hazey!
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This kid is going to be amazing....It looks like Nash has kinda taken him under his wing. I hope we get a coach that can make him get to THAT level, and push him to be a superstar.

Well depends what you mean by amazing, but I think he can be right in line with O'Reilly and Kesler. Tough matchups, 55ish points. If Andersson or Chytil can take some of the pressure off, I think Hayes' production will definitely go up from this year.

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Well depends what you mean by amazing, but I think he can be right in line with O'Reilly and Kesler. Tough matchups, 55ish points. If Andersson or Chytil can take some of the pressure off, I think Hayes' production will definitely go up from this year.

 

I think he can be a top line center....Selke...and maybe more. I see some Patrice Bergeron in him. Add in the fact that he can play tough. He's under the wrong coach right now because I think this team plays like a bunch of pansies, but that's me. You get this guy a coach that teaches this kid how to hit that next level and you got yourself a future star here.

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I think he can be a top line center....Selke...and maybe more. I see some Patrice Bergeron in him. Add in the fact that he can play tough. He's under the wrong coach right now because I think this team plays like a bunch of pansies, but that's me. You get this guy a coach that teaches this kid how to hit that next level and you got yourself a future star here.

I guess the Selke isn't a huge reach, but I think Bergeron-level production is probably a bit of wishful thinking. He was a 70-point player twice before he was 22.

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I'm with you Future! But I see it in Hayes. He can play "bigger" than Patrice. Thing is, his on ice IQ is far below, and that I still think falls into the realm of coaching and teaching. I know you see it too though. He shows flashes of greatness at times and signs of "inexperience" in others. He's good on faceoffs, has a very good skating ability, and defensively knows where to be and why.

 

I love this kid to death.

 

He sure as fuck doesn't shoot enough, but again....that's something that needs to be fixed from behind the bench. Other than that, there aren't many young, up and coming centers in the league with this kid's ability right now....other than than the #1's.

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He isn't very quick, but he's efficient for his size. I'm not sure exactly who to compare him to. All I'm saying is that I wouldn't really call him a "good" skater. But I suppose that's because I'm today's NHL that's probably synonymous with quick.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Blueshirts Brotherhood mobile app powered by Tapatalk

 

Yeah, I don't think of quick as "good". Fast is one thing, solid is another. Rarely do you see him get bumped off the puck....same with a guy like Nash. Nash seems to be able to hold the puck forever and do those spin-a-rama's with control of the puck. That's really what I'm getting at. He's definitely not going to leave a trail of fire in his wake like the Road-runner, but he's a solid skater that's not going to be bounced around like a certain guy we sent packing to Arizona.

 

I'm trying to think who I can compare him to as well Phil, but I keep coming up with a combination of Bergeron and Tim Kerr!!! (I'm kidding) =)

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Hayes has done an ok job as a shutdown center this year and is the best at it that the Rangers have.

Question is is he worth the money he's going to want this upcoming offseason.

 

This is exactly how I feel as well. He is going to get $4-5M a year in his next deal. I don't think he is worth that much honestly. They are going to have to part with either Miller or Hayes, and I would rather keep Miller over Hayes.

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This is exactly how I feel as well. He is going to get $4-5M a year in his next deal. I don't think he is worth that much honestly. They are going to have to part with either Miller or Hayes, and I would rather keep Miller over Hayes.

Splitting the difference...Hayes at $4.5 is a pretty good deal, especially when you're going to have at least one ELC center on the roster for the next few seasons. If you've got both Hayes and Zib for less than $10m total, you're in a pretty good spot.

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Splitting the difference...Hayes at $4.5 is a pretty good deal, especially when you're going to have at least one ELC center on the roster for the next few seasons. If you've got both Hayes and Zib for less than $10m total, you're in a pretty good spot.

 

Agreed. Not at all back breaking.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Blueshirts Brotherhood mobile app powered by Tapatalk

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Splitting the difference...Hayes at $4.5 is a pretty good deal, especially when you're going to have at least one ELC center on the roster for the next few seasons. If you've got both Hayes and Zib for less than $10m total, you're in a pretty good spot.

 

That's a pretty good deal for both sides, Future! You missed your calling dude!! You should be an agent!!!

 

Question: You give him 5 Years? I would!

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