Adam Rotter: The Rangers need to determine what their ultimate goal is when it comes to these trades. Are they still looking to get as many picks as possible, already drafted players, NHLers, some combination of those three? My view is that they can get the most amount of assets by trading them separately but they might get the most quality asset by trading them together. The Rangers are in a good position no matter what direction they go in and if Mark Stone gets moved soon that may only increase the value of Zuccarello and Hayes more.
11:51AM: The Ottawa Senators have sent Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a package believed to include prospects and picks. (Dreger)
The belief, as of now, is that the Blue Jackets will also hold onto Artemi Panarin as they look to make a playoff run. (Kypreos)
Adam Rotter: This is big for the Rangers on two fronts. One is that Duchene coming off the market makes Kevin Hayes the top center available and someone that the Rangers should be able to auction off at a high price to teams like Boston, Nashville, Winnipeg or anyone else who missed out on Duchene.
Second is that with Panarin likely coming off the market interest in Mats Zuccarello is likely to increase. He is still behind Mark Stone of Ottawa but the Rangers may now be able to get a first round pick for Zuccarello if not more. Nashville and Winnipeg are battling for the Central Division, Calgary is looking to add and Zuccarello has been linked with Dallas as well. Things are very bunched up in the Western Conference, to the point where the Rangers would actually be in contention for a playoff spot if they were there, and that should lead to Zuccarello bringing back more than expected.
The wild card in this situation is if anyone, likely a team that misses out on Mark Stone, will be willing to meet the Rangers price for Chris Kreider. The price is believed to be very high and include a young roster player as Kreider is signed through next season. The Rangers do not want to move Kreider and there is a belief around the NHL that he will be extended this summer by the Rangers and have a “C” put on his jersey but if someone is willing to overpay they will certainly take a long look at it.