The free agency season has been open for the past four days, but some pundits are already focusing on what is expected to happen next summer and the trades that could take place ahead of the next free-agent period. While the New York Rangers are entering a rebuilding phase, they are still focused on some pending restricted free agents who might need to be re-signed next summer.
However, one of them could bring a very interesting return if the Rangers can convince the Boston Bruins to move one of the most untouchable players on their roster.
Let's hear out Larry Brooks of the New York Post. According to Brooks, Rangers restricted free agent centre Kevin Hayes could get a five-year, $30-million payday if he hits the open market next summer. He hence suggests Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton has to decide if he’ll re-sign Hayes to a similar contract or ship him to one of the teams around the league in need of a centre.
And there are quite a few. While the Montreal Canadiens automatically come to mind when we mention a need for a boost down the middle, Brooks is focused on what rivals Bruins could bring forward in a trade for Hayes. Brooks believes it would be folly to allow Hayes to go through arbitration and get a one-year deal. So here is Brooks' suggestion, and it's a doozy.
"The price for Hayes was established, if not re-established, by the marketplace. Now Gorton must decide whether to meet that market price or to market one of his very best players. The clock has already begun to tick," writes Brooks.
The New York Post reporter feels the return should be for “help and muscle on the wing,” and wonders if Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk would be off-limits.
You heard right. DeBrusk on the block.
"They have a crying need for help on the right side of the defense. The Bruins, who went all in on Tavares, could be tempted to bring No. 13 home. Would Jake DeBrusk be off-limits here?"
It will surely be interesting to see how the Blue Shirts go about Hayes in the coming season. In a rebuilding process, having to offer five years and $30 million would be an expensive investment for Hayes, who sure is a versatile player who can play centre and wing.
He has however yet to crack the 50-point plateau, which can not only prevent him from getting a hefty raise, but also stop the Bruins from moving a great player like DeBrusk.