While there are plenty of rumors abound about potential trade candidates, the New York Rangers may opt to wait before they make any trades, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, who appeared on NBCSN’s post-game show on Wednesday. While there are rumors that the Rangers could move center Kevin Hayes whenever they want and might consider moving him soon, Dreger said that was unlikely and he can’t picture the Rangers moving Hayes or Mats Zuccarello until after the new year.
“You’re right, it’s still a little bit early,” said Dreger. “But I would have said a month ago that the New York Rangers were more interested in listening to what sort of interest might have been in Kevin Hayes. But the reality is Kevin Hayes is playing pretty well for the New York Rangers right now. There are always teams in the market for centermen, particularly guys who are playing well and are 6-foot-5. So it’s still a little bit early to ramp up the rumors with Kevin Hayes and even Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers. I would say very early in the New Year we’ll be able to identify those specific teams with interest.”
The 26-year-old Hayes, who is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, has three goals and 11 points in 17 games so far this season. While he is still young, there are many among the Rangers’ brass who aren’t sure they want Hayes to be the center-point of their rebuilt franchise and might be better off moving him for more pieces. Zuccarello is also in the final year of a four-year deal and can also be a free agent. The 31-year-old has three goals and 10 points in 15 games.
- Even though Columbus Blue Jackets forward Anthony Duclair has been impressive this season with seven goals in his first 17 games as he’s currently on pace for a 35-goal season at a minimum $650K. However, many were shocked when Duclair found himself benched during the third period and overtime Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Tom Reed (subscription required). Head coach John Tortorella made his point quite clear. “He’s got to check,” Tortorella said. “He’s got to learn to check.” Of course, Tortorella put the blame on Duclair’s entire line, including Alexander Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstrand. However, it was Duclair’s minutes that were cut into as he played just 5:40, although strangely, he was still given an opportunity to take a shootout attempt at the end of the game.
- One reason for the Philadelphia Flyers improved play of late is the recent emergence of defenseman Christian Folin, who has impressed Flyers’ brass with his defensive play, especially with his physicality and his willingness to block shots, according to The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor (subscription required). The scribe writes that after struggling during the preseason and making multiple gaffs early in the regular season, Folin has come into his own over the last couple weeks. “I really didn’t see him do anything different tonight than what he’s done over the past however many games,” the Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “Fols is a consistent player. He’s reliable in terms of you know what you’re gonna get, and you get those elements at a high level.”
- Michael Smith of NHL.com reports that Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce did not practice Sunday after taking a knee-to-knee hit during Saturday’s game against Detroit and is listed as day-to-day. Pesce, who is in the first year of a six-year, $24.2MM deal ($4.03MM AAV), has been mentioned in potential trade rumors with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a potential William Nylander trade. The 23-year-old could provide Toronto with a cheap, young defensive-minded blueliner who could stabilize any teams’ defense.