The New York Rangers appear poised to make a very big move ahead of the 2019 National Hockey League trade deadline.
In a recent report for the New York Post, New York Rangers insider Larry Brooks made it very clear that he expects the Rangers and Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton to make every effort to trade veteran forward Kevin Hayes. Hayes is of course set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this current season and with the Rangers currently in a full on rebuild there are many who have wondered if the talented forward remains a part of the Rangers' plans moving forward.
The Rangers, Gorton, Hayes and Hayes' agent Bob Murray still have plenty of time to work out a new deal but I would imagine that Gorton and the Rangers would want that deal in place prior to the time that the trade deadline has come and gone. That being said though Brooks expects Gorton to be active in his efforts to trade Hayes leading up to the deadline.
Still, let’s be serious. Gorton is going to shop Hayes aggressively in the interim in order to determine the rental value of No. 1...
What makes this such an interesting move from the Rangers perspective is that, as Brooks himself has pointed out, Hayes has arguably been the franchise's very best player over the course of the past two seasons. On top of that after a relatively strong start through his first 39 games of the 2018 - 2019 NHL regular season Hayes appears poised to break his record for most points in a single season(currently 49). In order for the Rangers to give up Hayes, especially if you believe he is just entering the prime of his career at 26 years of age, Brooks believes that the Rangers will need to command a hefty price indeed.
Again from Brooks:
So it may come down to a final 48-72 hours for Gorton, who needs more than the standard late first-rounder-plus to justify moving the Bostonian who has been his team’s best player the past two seasons and who has improved dramatically three years running under both Alain Vigneault and David Quinn.
This is one deal you should keep a very close eye on prior to the deadline.