Friedman on trade potential of Zuccarello, Hayes

The New York Rangers will have several offerings available on the trade market as the deadline nears.

Elliotte Friedman had a Monday evening TV hit on NHL Network, during which he was asked about what he’s hearing related to Mats Zuccarello.

“The one thing about Zuccarello is he was down in a lot of teams’ eyes with the way he was playing this year, and he started to play a bit better,” noted Friedman. “A couple of weeks ago, Zuccarello went public with his quotes to Larry Brooks of The New York Post, where he talked about how hard this had been, and that he was disappointed the Rangers weren’t necessarily looking to re-sign him, and it affected him mentally.

“I think that was a bit cathartic for Zuccarello to do that. He started to play a little bit better since then. I think he still has to continue on this trek in order to get some interest. There’s no question the Ranger with the most interest is Hayes, the center, because he is a center. But I think if Zuccarello continues to play the way he has in the past 10 games, I think he puts himself back in the conversation.

“But I do think it’s interesting he’s kind of played better since he came out and admitted how hard this whole situation had been on him.”

Zuccarello is in the final season of a four-year, $18 million pact, and he does not have any trade protection.

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

Both forwards can become unrestricted free agents this summer.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly