The comparisons have been drawn. Kevin Hayes is scoring shorthanded goals at a rate similar to that of Mike Richards in 2008/09. He already has as many as Matt Read in 2013/14 as well. Maybe the Matt Read comparison should take a back seat to the Mike Richards comparison…
Either way, it’s been an absolute pleasure being able to watch Kevin Hayes kill penalties this year. From dancing around the Penguins powerplay, to scoring a shorthanded goal in consecutive games, he’s been great on the penalty kill. Mike Richards was no slouch when down a man either.
Richards’ best season with the Flyers was the 2008/09 season. He posted 30 goals and 50 assists for a total of 80 points in79 games. He lead the league that year in shorthanded tallies with seven, two more than second place. If you need any more proof of his PK prowess, look no further than this masterful performance that lives in Flyers infamy.
Kevin Hayes is proving that he’s a force to be reckoned with on the penalty kill as well. Hayes has four shorthanded goals on the year, and there’s 29 games remaining. If you crunch some numbers, Kevin Hayes is on pace for six shorthanded goals, one short of Richards’ total in 2008/09.
What the numbers tell you is that Mike Richards had more opportunities than Kevin Hayes likely will. In During the 2008/09 season, the Flyers served 1,408 penalty minutes. So far this season, the Flyers have served 715, and are on pace for about 1,106. That puts them 302 minutes under their performance in 2008/09.
That’s not making excuses for Hayes, but rather magnifying the great job he’s done as a penalty killer for the Flyers. Who knows, maybe Hayes ends up netting seven shorties this season. While he’s only on pace for six, what’s one more, really? Who wouldn’t want to see another one of these?
While Kevin Hayes may not live up the offensive potential of Mike Richards, his penalty killing has been outstanding. The danger of him scoring shorthanded surely impacts how opposing teams set up their powerplay. It’s no secret that Hayes is a weapon while on the penalty kill.
Currently, Kevin Hayes is tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals with Ottawa’s Chris Tierney. The Flyers haven’t had someone lead the league in shorthanded goals since Richards in 2008/09. If Hayes keeps up his pace, he may join Richards in some pretty talented company.
Mandatory Credit – Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA TODAY Sports