Kevin Hayes to the Avalanche? Possible trade scenarios for the Rangers

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HayesMandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The firesale is going to start soon. With the Rangers clearly out of the playoff hunt and the team getting calls about the Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and others you can be sure the rumor mill will be churning up until the trade deadline. Sooner rather than later some fan favorites will be leaving Broadway for others places. While Zuccarello has been linked to the Edmonton Oilers, Hayes has been heavily rumored to be linked to the Colorado Avalanche.

What would be the dream return for him? How about a more plausible return? And of course, be prepared for a possible nightmare scenario.

Kevin Hayes has been a great Ranger. In his time here he has become a guy who has shown flashes of excellence and has shown what he can do under the right system of play. David Quinn has seemingly unlocked the potential of Hayes and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Hayes will be a UFA, he may no longer fit into the Rangers long term plans and with his play this season the Rangers no doubt can get a nice return for him. With the Avalanche seemingly in the lead for his services, there’s a few trade packages Rangers fans can expect for Hayes from the Avalanche. But first, let’s discuss a dream scenario…

DREAM SCENARIOS: The New York Rangers trade Kevin Hayes to the Colorado Avalanche for Cale Makar OR the Ottawa Senators’ first round pick in 2019

If Avalanche GM Joe Sakic called up GM Jeff Gorton and offered him this deal, Gorton wouldn’t be able to say yes fast enough. With the Avalanche seemingly a little ahead of schedule on their rebuild would they part with their best defensive prospect? It’s a stretch and this scenario is highly unlikely but if Sakic does face pressure from ownership to make the playoffs there could be the smallest chance this happens.

The Avs get a nice second line cetner to play behind offensive superstar Nathan MacKinnon and the Rangers would be getting their possible number one defensemen of the future. Imagine a blueline with Makar, Miller, Hajek and Lindgren down the line? That’s some nice potential there. Maybe Sakic thinks Conor Timmins, who will hopefully be healthy soon, can be a number one d man for them or that some of their other prospects can make up the slack of losing Makar? The 20-year-old Makar currently has eight goals and 19 assists for 27 points in 22 games for UMass Amherst in the NCAA.

The other optimal return from the Avalanche would be if they gave the Rangers Ottawa’s first rounder in 2019. That pick has a huge possibility of being first overall with how bad the Senators are playing this season so obviously this pick is extremely valuable.  Now why would the Avalanche offer this pick over Makar? Well the Avalanche don’t lose Makar or any of their top flight prospect this way. They keep all of their own assets and they don’t lose any roster player either. Obviously they risk potentially losing out on a top three selection in the draft and that’s a big loss. This is highly unlikely as well but if offered, Gorton would be a fool to refuse sending Hayes to the mile high city. Now let’s take a look at some more likely trade scenarios.

LIKELY TRADES: The New York Rangers trade Kevin Hayes to the Colorado Avalanche for Conor Timmins and the Avalanche’s 2019 first round pick OR Martin Kaut and the Avalanche’s 2019 first pick

These are two deals I could really see happening. Timmins is projected to be an great NHL defenseman when he develops and Kaut would be a great addition to the Rangers offensively down the line. Of course with Timmins, the Rangers would need to be absolutely sure he can get healthy or is on the road to recovery at the very least. Timmins is essentially high risk, high reward at this stage as he hasn’t played an AHL game all season but he was dynamite for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds during the 2018-18 season in the OHL.

Kaut seems the more likely target since he is healthy and had showed flashes of being a fantastic winger. He currently has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 33 games for the Colorado Eagles of the AHL and while those totals don’t seem to eye popping, Kaut has a high ceiling and could challenge for a roster spot next season. He has an extremely high hockey IQ and his has elite playmaking vision. If Gorton can turn Hayes into Kaut or Timmins, along with the Avalanche’s first rounder in 2019, that would be a great return for a second line center in Hayes.

Kaut and Timmins would make great additions to the Rangers prospect pool but brace yourselves… there can be a nightmare scenario with the Avalanche as well.

NIGHTMARE SCENARIO: The New York Rangers trade Kevin Hayes to the Colorado Avalanche for Tyson Barrie OR Shane Bowers and a draft pick

If either of these happen, the Hayes trade will be failure. Trading for Barrie would not be conducive to the Rangers’ future. Yes, he is a great player but by the time the team is ready for contention again will Barrie really be as effective of a player as he is now? Honestly, I’m not sure and I don’t think the Rangers should take that chance. They need to focus on futures. Shane Bowers never averaged a point per game in his junior hockey days and was traded once as part of the Matt Duchene trade last season. The Rangers already have a log jam at the center ice position and Bowers doesn’t have the ceiling worthy of being worth a player like Hayes.

BSN Denver’s Adrian Dater reported that Rangers scouts consistently tailed the Avalanche over the last little while. Unless that’s about something Colorado would want the Rangers to take from their roster to facilitate, say, a Kevin Hayestrade, I don’t think New York’s primary interests would be at the NHL level. The obvious connection is Shane Bowers, who Rangers bench boss David Quinn coached at Boston University. But the Rangers will be seeking much more. The Avalanche will zealously protect their most appealing draft assets.
(EDIT: Several Avs fans have reached out to suggest this may be about Vladislav Namestnikov, not Hayes.)

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Keep it right here at foreverblueshirts.com for all updates on the fate of Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline!