With the current state of the New York Rangers franchise as well as their subpar position in the league’s overall standings (22nd as it stands), it is inevitable that the team will be buyers rather than sellers come next Monday’s trade deadline. Amongst their most appealing assets is the 26-year-old centre and pending unrestricted free agent Kevin Hayes. The question that remains is are the Rangers keen on moving Hayes? And if so what teams are expected to make an offer?
What Teams Are In On New York Rangers Kevin Hayes
As TSN’s Gord Miller suggests, Nashville is in need of bolstering their lineup if they want to solidify their roster for a long playoff run.
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) February 18, 2019
With one of the stronger back ends in the league and the recent addition of fourth-liner Brian Boyle, it appears Nashville is only missing some added scoring up front. Hayes can provide exactly that, likely for a price tag lower than either Matt Duchene or Mark Stone. In addition, Hayes’ defensive responsibility makes him a suitable fit for a heavy Nashville team poised for a big playoff push.
The Boston Bruins are one of the league’s hottest teams and are expected to be buyers at the deadline. With a lack of quality centre, adding Boston-native Kevin Hayes seems a logical option for the B’s.
Big Kevin Hayes guy. If the Rangers move him, could end up being a big time impact player in the playoffs. Can skate the puck, produce offence, very active defensively. Nashville, Winnipeg, hometown Boston all seem like good fits.
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) February 18, 2019
As Mike Kelly of the NHL Network notes, Hayes’ playing style and hometown roots make the two a perfect pair. With a repeat of last year’s playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs looking likely, line matching will be crucial come April. Hayes’ could be suitable for filling a role similar to that of Riley Nash last post-season, with more offensive upside in his game. If a deal for Hayes does not work out, expect the Bruins to be active elsewhere as they appear to be all-in for a playoff run.
Winnipeg is desperate to add some help up front at the deadline. Naturally, Kevin Hayes is a name that the team has been linked to as of late per Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. A trade for Hayes would be this year’s version of last year’s deadline acquisition, Paul Stastny. Much like Stastny, Hayes would provide great Center depth for an already well-rounded team. His expiring contract is of little concern for the Jets, who will be content with a rental player. The struggles of young sniper Patrik Laine have been well documented since the Christmas break. Adding Hayes is a realistic option for helping Laine get out of his slump and improving the team overall.
New York Rangers
There is, of course, the possibility of Kevin Hayes staying put with the Rangers. As per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Rangers will consider moving Hayes, but only for the right price.
NYR getting good action on Zuccarello. Could go for a second rounder and a prospect perhaps. If the return on Kevin Hayes is soft, I could see NYR keeping him and trying to sign him. McQuad will go for at least what they gave up: 4th and 7th rders https://t.co/ngXvrZMBmU
— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 14, 2019
All the attributes that make Hayes attractive to other teams similarly apply to the Rangers. At just 26 years old, he remains a player New York could be interested in keeping around. With Hayes set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, there is a risk to letting contract negotiations go into the off-season.
On the other hand, nobody could blame Hayes for wanting to move on to a contending team. In a deep group of potentially available players, his name ranks near the top of the list. One thing we can be sure of is there will be much interest in the coming days on Hayes’ availability.
Main Photo: DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 22: New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes (13) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, of Sweden, (55) during the second period of a regular season NHL hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings on January 22, 2017, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)