Dreger: A little bit early to ramp up Hayes trade rumors

Kevin Hayes may already be drawing trade interest around the league, although it could be a little early to identify potential suitors.

During a Wednesday evening appearance on NBCSN’s post-game show, Darren Dreger was asked a viewer’s question concerning which teams might be “sniffing around Kevin Hayes” on the trade market.

“You’re right, it’s still a little bit early,” began Dreger. in his conversation with host Kathryn Tappen. “But I would have said a month ago that the New York Rangers were more interested in listening to what sort of interest might have been in Kevin Hayes. But the reality is Kevin Hayes is playing pretty well for the New York Rangers right now. There are always teams in the market for centermen, particularly guys who are playing well and are 6-foot-5.

“So it’s still a little bit early to ramp up the rumors with Kevin Hayes and even Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers. I would say very early in the New Year we’ll be able to identify those specific teams with interest.”

Hayes is on a one-year, $5.175 million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Mats Zuccarello is also poised to potentially become a UFA in July, and he’s in the final season of a four-year, $18 million contract.

Elliotte Friedman noted last week that he thinks there are teams trying now for Hayes, and that he thinks Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton could move Hayes or Zuccarello anytime he wants.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly