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
Paul Fenton, Minnesota Wild GM. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Okay, I fudged a bit. There is a tie for third place because these two teams, Carolina, and Minnesota have to decide if they are buyers. Both are on the bubble of the playoffs. It’s up to their front offices to make a move or two to solidify their position.

3b Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the league’s feel-good stories this season. They have risen from also-ran last season to playoff contender now. Currently, the Canes sit three points behind both the Columbus Blue Jackets for third place in the Metropolitan Division and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wildcard slot.

Carolina captain Jordan Staal has been limited to just 29 games and 11 points this season due to a series of injuries. Fortunately for the Hurricanes, other players such as Sebastian Aho, and Teuvo Teravainen have been able to pick up the offensive slack. They still have a big hole in the middle where Lucas Wallmark and Jordan Martinook are holding down the second and third line pivots respectively.

Adding Hayes would accomplish two goals. To begin with, he gives Carolina a second line center that can add some much-needed offense. Additionally, his presence on the team would take some of the pressure off Staal when he returns.

3a Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is in a similar position. They currently hold the second wildcard slot in the Western Conference, but only eight points separate them from last place Los Angeles. It’s a very tightly packed race.

The Wild have been struggling the second half to hold on to a playoff position. They were just passed in the standings by red hot St. Louis. To complicate matters, the Wild lost captain Mikko Koivu to a season-ending knee injury last week. If Minnesota is going to compete for the post-season they will need another center.

Gorton would certainly be enticed by a prospect such as rightwing Luke Kunin. Additionally, since the Rangers are playing the long game, they can afford to wait for prospect Kirill Kaprizov until 2020 when his KHL contract is up, should Minnesota make him available.