The Winnipeg Jets boast one of the deepest forward groups in the entire NHL. With top end talent like Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers all playing big minutes in the team’s top six forward group, you’d be hard pressed to find a team with that much depth up front. The thing is… last year’s addition of centre Paul Stastny gave the Jets an additional dimension. With Stastny moving on to the Vegas Golden Knights this past offseason, the Jets have yet to truly replace him in their lineup. Bryan Little does an admirable job, but still you can’t help but think that Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff would like to give head coach Paul Maurice a couple more options. Enter the rebuilding New York Rangers.
NHL insider and Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos reported on Saturday Headlines during CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast this past weekend that the Jets may be interested in Rangers centre Kevin Hayes. Now just days later Kypreos’ Sportsnet colleague Elliotte Friedman is echoing his sentiment. Check out this tidbit from Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet:
As Nick Kypreos reported on Headlines, Kevin Hayes is a logical possibility for Winnipeg. A centre, and, like the departed Paul Stastny, a lefty. They won’t be the only chasers, and there’s no guarantee the Rangers are in any hurry.
Logical yes, but probable? Who knows? One thing’s for certain, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton will listen to any offers he gets on Kevin Hayes, as the 26 year old pivot is slated to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason. With the Rangers in the midst of a massive roster overhaul and a long term rebuild, it’s hard to see Hayes sticking around for any longer than he has to.The 6 foot, 5 inch, 216 pound centre had 25 goals in 76 games for the Rangers last season and has significant trade value given his contractual situation and his ability to put the puck in the net.
Keep a close eye on this rumor as we get closer to the NHL’s February 25th trade deadline.