Kevin Hayes

Kevin Hayes out until after the bye week

2PM: Kevin Hayes will remain out of the lineup until after the Rangers return from their bye week and the All-Star break. (Brooks)

Hayes has missed the past seven games with an upper body injury.

He had 33 points in 39 games this season for the Rangers.

Hayes was ranked 13th on TSN‘s Trade Bait board.

Adam Rotter: It makes sense to hold Hayes out and give him all of this extra time to rest, recuperate and get healthy. Obviously health is a big factor for Hayes as the deadline gets closer and while the Rangers would like to have Hayes in their lineup to help them win now, he is their most valuable potential trade asset. If the Rangers are going to move Hayes then they will want the max value they can get back for him and they can’t do that if he’s hurt.

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Players the Rangers may look to move before the deadline

Darren Dreger was on NBCSN and said the following about the Rangers:

  • On Mats Zuccarello, “He is a veteran forward that is going to augment what some teams have in their push to contend for a Stanley Cup. Zuccarello has been an excellent Ranger, a quality leader, at 31 he has time left to deliver some good hockey but not in the direction the Rangers would be going in to sign him.”
  • On Kevin Hayes, “The Rangers have not decided officially if they are going to trade Kevin Hayes because he is valuable and now and in the future but it’s all about what is being offered. They will gauge that interest and if the interest is there and it’s a deal that makes sense they will make that trade, otherwise they will explore the possibility of extending his contract.”
  • On Adam McQuaid, “he’s 32-years old, if he stays healthy enough there is going to be interest in Adam McQuaid. Right shot D are always valuable. He can be a beast provided that he can stay healthy. It’s nice to have depth and a bit of bite and physicality in the lineup.”

Adam Rotter: I think it’s realistic to assume that Mats Zuccarello, as a rental, could bring the same type of return that Michael Grabner did last year (2nd round pick, prospect Yegor Rykov). Depending on the team acquiring Zuccarello the Rangers may be able to push for a conditional first round pick based upon how far that team goes, but it’s likely not going to be a guaranteed first rounder or top prospect unless Zuccarello heats up and starts producing like crazy.

McQuaid can probably net, at least, the fourth round pick the Rangers sent to Boston to get him in the first place, but as Dreger notes, he has to be healthy. I think he is valuable as a leader and a mentor of sorts for someone like Brady Skjei and Neal Pionk but he isn’t part of the future and the Rangers are likely going to want to get a look at Libor Hajek and/or Ryan Lindgren at some point.

Vlad Namestnikov could be another potential option to move since he can slot into almost any top-nine role and would provide great depth for a team, but I don’t think the Rangers are going to give him away.

Then, of course, there is Kevin Hayes and his situation has been discussed at length. Hayes could be a difference maker for a playoff team and the Rangers will ask a lot for him even though he is a rental. I think you can look at the Central Division and pick any number of teams where Hayes could have an impact. That bodes well for the Rangers because it should drive the price up and land them some nice assets. That is, of course, if the Rangers decide to move Hayes at all.

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The Kevin Hayes situation the Rangers are in

12/29 | Hayes’ agent said this week that he has “no idea” what the Rangers are going to do with Hayes and no talks are currently scheduled. (The Athletic)

12/26 | Kevin Hayes is currently on a seven-game point streak that has seen him net five goals and eight assists.

He has eight goals and nineteen assist in his past 24 games and the Rangers can sign him to a contract extension starting on January 1, 2019.

He is currently on a one-year deal worth $5.175 million and is slated to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019.

Hayes said recently that he isn’t expecting anything to happen on January 1 with a new contract and also isn’t thinking about the possibility of being moved at the deadline. (Newsday)

  • The NHL Trade Deadline is at 2/25/19 at 3PM.

He said that he has stepped up as someone with a “big voice” in the locker room and tries to lead by example. (Newsday)

He noted that the big step in his game has come from him realizing he had to be “good every night” if the Rangers were to be successful. (Newsday)

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The latest rumors on the Rangers, Hayes and Zuccarello

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.

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Kevin Hayes will return to center tonight

12/12/18 | Elliotte Friedman lists the Bruins as a team that has been connected to Hayes but adds that they will have competition for him. He notes that Hayes would fit what Colorado is looking for. (Sportsnet)

12/10/18 | After playing Saturday’s game on the wing with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes will return to his regular spot in the middle for tonight’s game against Tampa Bay. (NY Post)

Hayes will be replaced by Vlad Namestnikov on the Rangers top line and will shift between Ryan Strome and Jimmy Vesey against Tampa. (Newsday)

David Quinn had said that long-term the Rangers viewed Hayes as a center and noted on Sunday that after organizational discussions, it was in the team’s best interest for him to play center. (Newsday)

Quinn did note that he would be comfortable moving Hayes to the wing in a situation where he wanted to shorten the bench. (Newsday)

On Saturday against Florida, Hayes played over 14 minutes at 5 on 5 with Zibanejad and Kreider with one goal for and two goals against. (Natural Stat Trick)

Adam Rotter: Hayes has developed into a solid center which was certainly no sure thing after his first couple of years in the NHL. He’s become an important player down the middle for the Rangers and will almost certainly get paid this summer as a center. The Rangers will have to determine soon whether they want to make a run at re-signing him or trade him. The Rangers can start working on an extension on Jan 1 and if they can’t make a deal, or at least make progress, they should trade him ASAP to get as much as they can for a rental. If Hayes is traded by the deadline the next question will be whether there is a chance he could potentially return as a UFA in July.

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Kevin Hayes to start at wing on Saturday

6:36PM: David Quinn said prior to tonight’s game (NYR):

  • Schneider was called up as a precaution and will warm up in the event that Namestnikov is not able to go.
  • On Hayes moving to the wing, “we are in a little bit of a rut, it’s nice to have a big line figuratively and literally and just want to see what it looks like.”
  • On moving from center to wing, Quinn notes that hockey, in a lot of ways, is becoming positionless. He doesn’t think there will be much of an adjustment.
  • On where the team needs to improve, Quinn said puck management, coming out of their own zone and in the offensive zone, has not been good enough. “Too many hope plays.”

3:35PM: Cole Schneider has been called up.

11:15AM: Kevin Hayes is likely to start at wing on Saturday in a move that David Quinn said was something he hoped could “jump-start” the Rangers. (Newsday)

He said that the Rangers are trying to create a “different matchup” but that in the “big picture” Hayes is a center, “for sure.” (Newsday)

Ryan Strome will move to center and said that it will be a good opportunity and one he will try not to overthink. (NY Post)

David Quinn said that Strome has done a “good job” since coming to the Rangers and has been a good teammate and “very coachable.” (NY Post)

Adam Rotter: This is a nice experiment for the Rangers to try and hopefully one they stick with for a couple of games. If Hayes can be the same player on the wing that he was at center then it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the Rangers to keep him. If he is only able to be that player while being a center, the Rangers could still keep him but locking in another center to a long-term deal would remove some flexibility.

This will also give the Rangers a chance to look at Strome in his natural position and see if he is able to tap into any more of the 5th overall talent that he has. He’s only a little younger than Hayes but would cost a lot less in the event that he finds the kind of success down the middle that his potential indicates he has.