2/2/19 – Pierre McGuire, on NBC, noted that the Rangers are “working diligently” to get Kevin Hayes signed.
1/28/19 | Kevin Hayes says that while he he wants to remain with the Rangers he knows that the situation is “kind of” out of his hands. (NY Post)
Larry Brooks writes that while the Rangers have “maintained regular contact” with Hayes’ agent there have not been any negotiations on a potential contract extension. (NY Post)
Hayes said he did not expect there to be much extension talk so far this season and that he has just tried to focus on showing the coaches and his teammates “what they can expect” from him day to day. (Newsday)
Brooks notes that Jeff Gorton will need more than just a “late first-rounder” to move Hayes and that the potential rental market may not fully “crystalize” until close to the 2/25 at 3PM deadline. (NY Post)
Hayes is expected to return to the Rangers lineup tomorrow against Philadelphia.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers have been without Hayes for nearly a month so it’s easy to forget how good he was before getting injured. He was arguably their best forward and certainly looked at times to be as valuable to this rebuild as Mika Zibanejad has been. Zibanejad is locked up though and Hayes is not. So what will happen? My guess is that the Rangers make a real effort to sign Hayes but ultimately trade him because they can’t agree on no-trade/no-move protection. I think that is what this comes down to. Hayes opted not to sign with the Blackhawks, became a UFA and chose the Rangers. He has developed into a really good player and deserves to get the kind of contract that he wants and deserves. I think the Rangers see that but maintaining flexibility has to be Jeff Gorton’s top priority moving forward. Maybe they are able to compromise on a long-term deal that has a limited no-trade/no-move protection but some other team, as a UFA, will almost certainly give Hayes the full protection he likely wants. It’s a tough situation but if moving Hayes is able to net the Rangers some quality assets, create a spot where Filip Chytil can play center and also keep as much cap space as possible, likely for Artemi Panarin, that is probably the path they will follow.