Friedman talks Rangers trades for Zuccarello, Hayes, and Panarin

Hayes (NYR)

I’ll admit it, I love trade rumors! And while I do love the Rangers more and wish they were a legit Cup contender, the one thing this rebuild has done is put the Blueshirts in the thick of many rumors. The reality is that the Rangers do not have to stick to a long and arduous traditional rebuild plan. Finishing at the bottom of the league and building through through the draft is a crap shoot. I’d even argue that due to the lottery and having no guarantee of getting the top pick makes the draft strategy not what it used to be.

Trade Chip: Hayes

Yesterday, one of hockey’s biggest insiders, Elliotte Friedman gave some input on the Rangers two best trade chips, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello on his podcast. 

“The one thing with Hayes is they really tried to sign him, and the two of them just didn’t agree. Now, I don’t have a problem with that if you perceive your value one way and you disagree with the team, then there’s nothing wrong with going to open market. But it says to me if they couldn’t do it last summer, why are they going to be able to do it now. It doesn’t.” – Friedman

That’s a pretty big statement from Friedman on Hayes and while he is playing better, I’m not sold that Hayes can be a 60 point center in this league. The salary he would likely demand of $6M+ doesn’t make sense for a 50 point player.

“So I think Boston will be in on Hayes. I think Winnipeg will be in on Hayes. I think Colorado will be in on Hayes. And there’s probably more. I mean, he’s a center. There’s going to be a lot of people in on Hayes.” – Friedman

Trade Chip: Zuccarello
Zuccarello

On Zuccarello, we know that whether it’s over a misunderstanding of a Norwegian translation, he’s likely on the way out. Since he’s going to be a UFA this summer and is over the age of 30, he is most likely going to be sought by a contender as a rental.

“Zuccarello is an interesting one. I could see Nashville liking a guy like Zuccarello. He fits kind of with what I think they would do. But if you told me that Zuccarello signed an extension to stay, I wouldn’t be surprised.” – Friedman

Nashville is an interesting destination, but I still believe other contenders like Winnipeg, Anaheim, and don’t rule out Toronto will be vying for him. I do find it hard to believe that Zuccarello would agree to an extension in NY only because it is likely it would not be for more than what he is earning now. Still, you never know.

All In On Panarin

Finally, Friedman stated clearly that when it comes to Artemi Panarin the Rangers will be all in. He also stated that Panarin appears to be leaning towards free agency but I won’t bank on it until after both sides meet in January.

If they come out of that meeting without a deal, then I would start making the appropriate plans Mr. Gorton.