The New York Rangers plan to be very busy over the next couple of days.
According to a breaking news report from TSN National Hockey League insider the Rangers have just benched 3 of their players ahead of Saturday's afternoon game against the New Jersey Devils. Now that in and of itself would not be particularly newsworthy if not for the fact that all 3 of the players benched today have been heavily linked to trade rumors and, additionally, all 3 players appear to have been benched specifically for the purposes of protecting them should they Rangers find a suitable deal to move one of, or all 3, of these players.
The 3 players who are being benched today are veteran forward Mats Zuccarello, talented center Kevin Hayes, and veteran National Hockey League enforcer Adam McQuiad. Each player being benched is interesting for different reasons but all of those reasons revolve around the trades that each player has been linked to in the last several weeks.
Perhaps the player who has been the most talked about among these 3 this season so far has to be center Kevin Hayes. Hayes has been linked to just about every major playoff contender at this point including the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, and more and it seems like he could truly end up going to just about any playoff team. Rangers insider Larry Brooks referred to Hayes as a player who has looked like the Rangers best player at this time this season so no doubt there is plenty of interest.
Zuccarello's situation seems to mirror that of Hayes in many situations and I suppose that for this reason it should surprise no one that many of the teams with interest in Hayes have also taken a gander at Zuccarello. The veteran winger has been on a hot streak since returning to form as of late and his value is probably at an all time high this season right when the Rangers needed it most.
McQuaid on the other hand will be moved to a playoff team looking to add some toughness on their roster. The biggest rumors surrounding McQuaid have linked him to the Maple Leafs and I would not be surprised in the least if that is where he did indeed end up.