If you had to place a bet in July on whether Kevin Hayes would be with the New York Rangers for the entire 2018-19 season, it was a gimme—he wouldn’t. The big center had just signed a one-year deal that would take him to unrestricted free agency and the Rangers were not expected to compete for the playoffs. Still, as the season began and some of the Rangers young players stepped up and surprised with their polished talent, some wondered whether the team would look to keep some of their pending free agents and turn a rebuild into a quicker retool.
Hayes, for his part even expressed how much he wanted to stay with the organization despite suggesting things were out of his control. It so happens that things are out of his control because there aren’t even talks happening between the forward and the Rangers front office, as Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports. The two sides haven’t had any discussion of late on an extension, leading to Brooks’ anticipation that a trade will happen. The scribe even goes as far as to suggest that the Rangers will soon pull Hayes—and fellow trade target Mats Zuccarello—out of the lineup soon to avoid injury.
If Hayes is to be traded, one of his most likely suitors will get an up close viewing tonight. The Rangers will play the Winnipeg Jets tonight, a team that has been looking to add a second-line center since losing Paul Stastny to free agency in the summer.