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Get to Know a Ranger: Kevin Hayes

As part of the build-up to the second-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Rangers, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Rangers and how they might impact the series.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Hayes

#13/ Center/Right Wing / New York Rangers

6-5 |  225 |  May 8, 1992

Boston, MA |  24th, 2010 (Chicago)

Assets Owns excellent size and offensive ability. Can play all three forward positions and has natural scoring instincts. Complements skilled linemates very well.
Flaws Needs to use his size with greater consistency to thrive at the highest level, especially in terms of scoring in the 'dirty areas'. Must also continue to work on his play in the defensive zone.
Career Potential Big forward with good upside.(Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career Rolling Corsi-For Percentage:

Hayes Rolling CF

HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

Hayes HERO

2015 Rangers Player Usage:

Hayes Usage

Why you should know who he is: Hayes finished the regular season fifth on the Rangers in goals and even-strength points (second in five-on-five points-per-sixty), and in four games against the Caps this season, the rookie had five points, including these two goals:

He's a big rig with a long reach and that can be a handful (recall Brian Boyle in the 2013 series between these teams, for example... now think of that with more skill). Hayes does most of his damage around the net (just ask the Pens), and looks to be centering the Rangers' third line at present, so he won't be among the Caps' primary focuses. But if they forget about him, they could pay for it.

How the Caps can stop him: Despite piling up the points against the Caps, Washington actually did a good job against the former Boston College star, limiting him to a 46.1% five-on-five Corsi-For percentage in nearly 44 minutes (stats via Puckalytics). The Caps will want to try to keep Hayes to the outside in their defensive zone (is Tim Gleason up to the task?) and try to take advantage of him defensively. Easier said than done, of course, but it beats hoping he hits the rookie wall in the next week or so. (It's worth noting, by the way, that for a kid of his size, Hayes isn't overly physical.)