What can the Rangers get for Kevin Hayes?

Hayes (Getty Images)

The stress of yet another crucial deadline will be over in a mere 10 days.

Between the rumors, speculations, and hopes, it has been a busy last month for fans to keep up with. At the start of the season, it seemed as if the fates of Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes were sealed, in that both were thought to be shipped off Broadway. I personally believe that is still the case, but with recent rumblings of possible returns, it would be in our best interest as fans to at least keep open the possibility that the Rangers may hold on to the veterans and sign each of them to an extension.

As mentioned before, I still believe that both Zuccarello and Hayes will be dealt, but with recent reports of the returns for the two of them, it makes fans, including myself, scratch our heads. Most people, including The Athletic’s Rick Carpinello, believe that Zuccarello will fetch a second round pick and a prospect.

I did state that I feel a team would pony up a first for Zuccarello’s services, but I am now starting to go back to the roots of a second round pick and a prospect; something that I am completely content with. It is the Hayes rumors that have been swirling that are bothersome.

Most of us felt that when the time came (aka within the next 10 days), Hayes would without question get a first-round pick (one likely in the 24-31 range) and a B+/A- level prospect. There have been multiple reports, from both Scott Burnside of The Athletic and TSN’s Bob McKenzie, that the Rangers would fetch, according to Burnside, at least a second-round pick plus a prospect, or, as Mckenzie notes, a first-round pick. What can this mean?

I am going to look at this as a “glass half full” scenario. Last year, Rick Nash got a first round pick – that eventually turned into K’Andre Miller – and “B” level prospect in Ryan Lindgren from the Bruins. Nash was 33 years old and on an expiring contract. That trade has been the comparison I have used since the start when referring to the inevitable Hayes trade, as have many. Hayes is in his prime at 26 years old and is a .81 PPG player. Those numbers alone should get the same return as Nash, if not better. So why a second-round pick?

Like mentioned before, I am going to look at this as a glass half full situation. When the Rangers made the deal with the Bruins last year, they received then Minnesota Golden Gopher, Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren, now playing in the AHL with Hartford, is someone that I feel will project to, at best, a third pair defenseman; more likely than not a seventh defenseman. So, how does this relate to the idea of Hayes getting a second-round pick plus a prospect?

My only interpretation is that Gorton is asking for a lower level pick in exchange for a higher level prospect. For example, instead of getting Winnipeg’s first-round pick and a “Ryan Lindgren caliber” prospect (third pair ceiling), they would get their second round pick, and a higher level prospect such as Sami Niku (second pair ceiling). I am completely for this kind of move. I would much rather have higher level prospects than the 26th pick of the draft; guys who have spent time developing and are close to cracking an NHL roster, as opposed to guys who may take 2-3 years to even sign their ELC. I am hopeful that this is why people such as Bob McKenzie are speculating a 2nd round pick – we will know more in the next 10 days.