With the trade deadline around the corner, the New York Rangers are reportedly talking extensions with Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello.
According to a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers and their two pending unrestricted free agents have begun talking about a possible contract extension.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) February 16, 2019
Brooks notes the talks are still in the early stages and both Zuccarello’s and Hayes’ camp are far away from what Rangers’ general manager Jeff Gorton is offering.
According to Cap Friendly, the Rangers have about $19.9 million in cap space for next season before even considering extending Hayes and Zuccarello.
As this season marches on, Hayes continues to develop into one of the best all-around centers in the game. In his last 22 games, the 26-year-old is averaging just over a point a game with 23 points in that span, eight goals, and 15 assists.
For Zuccarello, he’s really turned it on in his last eight games after getting off to a slow start this season. During that span, he’s scored 11 points while helping the Blueshirts’ first line of him, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad establish themselves as one of the best in the game.
No matter what the Rangers do with either player, they are making the right decision. Should they decide to extend them, they would be keeping two solid players who can help usher in the next great core of Ranger players. If they decide to eventually move them, they would be adding assets to help build during this rebuild.
Time will only tell, but in the meantime enjoy what you can of Zuccarello’s and Hayes’s game because you never know if the next game you see them can be their last.