On the 31 Thoughts Podcast this week, Elliotte Friedman spoke about the Rangers, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and Artemi Panarin.
On Panarin, Friedman said that while Chicago might be trying to clear space to bring him back, “until I’m told differently, If I’m putting money on it, I’m betting on the Rangers.”
On Zuccarello, Friedman said, “Zuccarello is an interesting one, I could see Nashville liking a guy like him. But if you told me that Zuccarello signed an extension to stay, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
On Hayes, Friedman said, “The one thing with Hayes is that they really tried to sign him and the two just didn’t agree. I don’t have a problem with that if you perceive your value one way and you disagree with the team, then there is nothing wrong with going to open market but it says to me that if they couldn’t get it done last summer, why are they going to be able to do it now. I think Boston will be in on Hayes, Winnipeg will be in on Hayes and Colorado and probably more. He’s a center there is going to be a lot of people in on Hayes.”
Hayes is ranked 3rd on TSN‘s Trade Bait Board, Zuccarello is ranked 11th and Vlad Namestnikov is 19th.
Adam Rotter: The belief from many around the NHL is that the Rangers are really high on Panarin and that Panarin has serious interest in coming to the Rangers. He’s going to get a high cap number, maybe double digits, from anyone, so he will have his pick from the teams that can afford him. The Rangers can afford him and he would be a big-time addition.
With Zuccarello, he wants to stay and I believe that the Rangers would like to keep him, but Zucc would have to leave a lot of money on the table to stay in New York. Over the past two years there has been so much talk about the Rangers trading pending UFAs and them possibly returning and while it hasn’t happened, I think Zuccarello is the best candidate for that. Again though, for that to happen, it will have to be on the Rangers terms.
With Hayes, I really think it comes down to no-trade/no-move protection. There is likely an easy outline of a deal in terms of money and length (probably 5-6 years around $6 million+) but if Hayes were to sign long-term I’m sure he would want the security to know he would be in control. The Rangers are in a spot where they want to keep everything flexible and, similar to Derek Stepan, have the ability to move Hayes if they choose. That is where I believe the main issue lies, though it’s entirely possible that the main issue lies with the actual term and dollars.
Hayes has worked extremely hard to get to this point in his career and more than deserves to cash in. He can certainly make a lot of money staying with the Rangers but there are likely to be situations around the league that could land him more. If he is unsigned around Feb 1, a month after they can start talking extension and little less than a month before the deadline, I think he will get moved to a contender and the two sides could look to re-engage before July 1.