Friedman on potential suitors for Hayes, Zuccarello

The New York Rangers will have decisions to make on their pending unrestricted free agents before the trade deadline.

Elliotte Friedman shared his latest insight into the situation during the latest 31 Thoughts: The Podcast edition with co-host Jeff Marek.

“As I said earlier, I think the Rangers are all-in on Panarin,” noted Friedman. “So that’s going to impact a lot of their decisions.

“The one thing with Hayes is they really tried to sign him, and the two of them just didn’t agree. Now, I don’t have a problem with that if you perceive your value one way and you disagree with the team, then there’s nothing wrong with going to open market. But it says to me if they couldn’t do it last summer, why are they going to be able to do it now. It doesn’t.

“So I think Boston will be in on Hayes. I think Winnipeg will be in on Hayes. I think Colorado will be in on Hayes. And there’s probably more. I mean, he’s a center. There’s going to be a lot of people in on Hayes.

“Zuccarello is an interesting one. I could see Nashville liking a guy like Zuccarello. He fits kind of with what I think they would do. But if you told me that Zuccarello signed an extension to stay, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Hayes is on a one-year, $5.175 million contract.

Zuccarello is in the final season of a four-year, $18 million pact, which does not have any trade protection written into it for this year.

Panarin is in the back half of a two-year, $12 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and appears to be inclined to head toward free agency this summer.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly