With the halfway point of the NHL season quickly approaching, the Rangers are putting themselves in a situation that they have to figure out and quick. And that is what are they going to do with Kevin Hayes? Hayes signed a one year deal before this season. Many fans believed that he was going to be trade bait this season regardless of his production.
Currently, Hayes is riding a five game point streak (4 Gs, 6 As). That’s an average of two points a game in that streak. So you can say he’s been lighting it the fuck up. He’s looking like a player that is valuable for this team going forward but are the Rangers willing to cave in and give him the payday he deserves? Nobody really knows. Does he fit into this rebuild that Gorton is trying to throw together? I think he does and deserves a multiyear deal but what do I know..
Hayes is currently on a one year $5.175 million deal. It’s clear as day that Hayes has proven himself as a certified second line center. So what could Hayes be looking at in a long-term deal? Could you sway him into signing for $6-7 million over 4 years. Possibly but with the cap going up every year and teams constantly overpaying for centers could we see a team willing to toss $8 million a year at Hayes? Absolutely.
I believe Kevin Hayes is a crucial piece for the Rangers going forward and they should do everything in their power to keep him at all costs. He’s only 26 years old. I don’t even think we’ve seen the best version of him yet on the ice. He’s on pace for his best season of his career production wise this year. If you keep him you are guaranteed depth down the middle for years to come between him, Mika and Lias. I mean it’s essentially a no brainer. But we know the Rangers have a habit of going out of the box and doing illogical things from time to time.
If you do trade Hayes, you could probably fetch a mid-tier first round pick, if not an early second. Probably a roster player or two as well. That’s buying into the rebuild for sure. But wouldn’t you rather stick with a player that you know can perform instead of taking a gamble on a draft pick. I mean we traded Stepan and used the pick to draft Lias and I find it very, very hard to believe Lias is going to be even half the player that Stepan was/is.
So, if I’m Jeff Gorton, I’d field some offers for Hayes approaching the deadline. But I wouldn’t trade him for the sake of trading him. The deal would have to blow my socks off my feet. I’d like to see Kevin Hayes in Rangers blue for a couple more years. Four to five to be exact. Don’t lose faith and trade a veteran just to buy into the rebuild more. It’s not always the right choice.