Dreger: Rangers will be interesting to watch

There are three New York Rangers on the first edition of this season’s TSN Trade Bait board, including two guys in the top three positions.

Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello, who occupy the No. 2 and No. 3 slots respectively, can each become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“Yeah, and that’s why they’re on that board,” said Darren Dreger during a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290. “There’s been some whispering around both Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes, so I wasn’t at all surprised to see those two names on that board, and those names are legit.

“I think the New York Rangers, they want to go about this in a patient but kind of a kick-start rebuild, if you will. That New York market attracts a lot of players. You can’t be in a rebuild mode if all of the sudden we get through the year, things stay the way they are with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Artemi Panarin all of the sudden decides he’s going into free agency, and he ends up a New York Ranger. Well, you’re not rebuilding when you’re signing a piece like that.

“I think the New York Rangers, not unlike any other year, are going to be very interesting to watch. Those pieces have been out there for awhile - it’s still too early because teams are still assessing what they have. What is the rental market? We don’t know yet, it hasn’t fully been established.

“But I think that the New York Rangers, for a lot of reasons, are going to be a team that’s going to be active at some point this year.”

Vladislav Namestnikov, who is in the first season of a two-year, $8 million contract, occupies the No. 13 position on the Trade Bait list.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly