Larry Brooks writes that with how the market has developed, if Kevin Hayes is able to become a UFA next summer he would likely command a contract of around five-years and $30 million. (NY Post)
Brooks writes that the Rangers and Jeff Gorton will have to make a decision on whether to sign him to a similar deal now or move him in a trade. (NY Post)
He writes that arbitration, and a one-year deal that would allow Hayes to walk directly into free agency "is not an option." (NY Post)
Brooks adds that if the decision is made to move Hayes than the return would have to be more than draft picks and provide the Rangers with "comparable NHL present and future value." (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: I think that unless the Rangers get a great offer of one young player ready to step into the lineup and another one or two close behind, that they should sign Hayes. Hayes has value now as an RFA but he will also have value down the line with term and cost certainty. If the Rangers want to try and compete next season then they need to keep Hayes. He would provide a buffer for Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, insurance if those guys struggle or need time and as long as the Rangers don't give Hayes a no-trade, he can be moved down the line the way that Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan were before him. In the event that Hayes finds a new level in his game under David Quinn then the Rangers will have a have another big asset to rebuild with.