New York Rangers: Three best trade destinations for Kevin Hayes

Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New York Rangers
Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

There are 11 days remaining until the National Hockey League trade deadline on February 25. It’s time for the New York Rangers to move on from pending unrestricted free agent Kevin Hayes.

The National Hockey League is in the middle of trade deadline season. It’s a time of rampant rumors and speculation. A time when New York Rangers fans are more interested in what Pierre LeBrun, Craig Custance, and Elliotte Friedman have to say rather than Sam Rosen, Steve Albert or Joe Micheletti.

Slightly over a year ago, Blueshirts president Glen Sather and general manager Jeff Gorton sent out a letter to season ticket holders informing them their team was going to scrap the season, be deadline sellers, and go into a full rebuild. Old was out and young was in. They traded away stars such as Rick Nash, and Ryan McDonagh.

Fast forward to 2019 and the next generation of Blueshirts are staking their claim. Filip Chytl, Brett Howden, and, Pavel Buchnevich have shown flashes of superior offensive potential among the forwards. Defensemen Brady Skjei is a keeper and could be on Broadway for a long time. Goalie Aleksander Georgiev appears to be a legitimate NHL player. Top prospects Lias Anderson, K’Andre Miller, and Igor Shestyorkin are on the way.

Blueshirts youth is stepping up but there is still some house cleaning to be done. Gorton is not going to let pending unrestricted free agents walk after the season for no compensation. That’s why longtime Rangers favorites Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes are likely to depart by deadline day.

Last week I wrote that the best trade partner for Zuccarello is the Edmonton Oilers, a team in need of a veteran wing. Now I’m moving on to Kevin Hayes. My colleague Sean Treppedi wrote earlier in the week it would be a mistake to trade Hayes. I think Hayes has to go in order to maximize the rebuild.

Hayes will want top player money when he is only an occasional top player. Make no mistake, he is very good, but in my opinion, giving number 13 an extension with a raise will tie up cap space best used in other areas.

Here are the New York Rangers three best trade partners for Kevin Hayes.