As the trade deadline nears, the New York Rangers should have at least a handful of trades up their sleeves.
Bob McKenzie had a Wednesday evening TV hit on NBCSN.
The Insider was asked how likely the Rangers were to move pending unrestricted free agents Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, and Adam McQuaid.
“I would say highly likely,” indicated McKenzie. “Now, the one proviso that goes with that is obviously they have to get good offers. They’re not just going to give them away for the sake of giving them away. But all three players are on expiring contracts.
“Right now I would think the New York Rangers are getting lots of action on Kevin Hayes. He’s a big center, he’s got the potential to be a 20-goal guy in the National Hockey League, the ability to be a 20-goal guy in the NHL. And because he’s on an expiring contract he’s going to be one of those attractive rentals that are out there, and they’re open to moving him for sure.
“As for Zuccarello, the fact that he’s playing better - and as Pierre McGuire alluded to, playing on that line with Zibanejad and Kreider - that’s good news. He’s healthy, he’s being productive, he’s playing well. And he’s another guy who has an ability to score goals, and that’s always a premium at the trade deadline. Also on an expiring contract. And with a rebuilding Rangers team, that would be a guy you’d love to move along as well.
“Adam McQuaid is the lesser valued guys of those three because he’s older, because he plays more of a depth role on the blueline. But boy, he’s a hard rock, big hits, and can drop the gloves and fight if necessary. But he’s more of a lower-case deal, more like Nick Holden-style return of a fourth-round pick and a seventh-round pick.
“Hayes and Zuccarello, I think it’s notable to note that today Brian Boyle went for a second-round pick from New Jersey to Nashville. He’s a depth player, but he’s sort of a high-end depth player. I think the New York Rangers believe if they can get a first-round pick and something for Kevin Hayes, that would be fantastic. If they can get a first-round pick or a top prospect - not both, but one of those - for Zuccarello, that would be great too.
“So all of those rentals are most certainly in play and I think they’re more likely than not to be traded. But there’s a lot of competition for the rentals, so we’ll see what the market settles at.”
Hayes is on a one-year, $5.175 million contract.
Zuccarello’s cap hit is $4.5 million, and he’s wrapping up a four-year, $18 million pact.
McQuaid is in the final season of a four-year, $11 million contract, which carries a cap hit of $2.75 million.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly