Jeff Gorton
(Bruce Bennet/Getty Images)

New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton believes any deals involving Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes could be made at last minute.

Frank Curto

There has been little communication from New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton regarding the free agent status of Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello.

Both are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season and with the trade deadline just five days away, the impending trade calls have been anticipated for some time. It’s a fine line between re-signing either player or trading them.

The “rebuilding” status of the team has caused more indecision than was originally thought.

Matt Larkin of the Hockey News spoke with Gorton and what he had to say about the two players is pretty much the same argument beat reporters, team bloggers and fans alike have been discussing for some time now.

“I think it’s best to look at both scenarios. I think it’s important to sit down and figure out what our player is going to be worth if we decide to go that way, but I also think it’s also important to know what it would cost if we were to bring them back and kept them around our young players here so they start to grow. So that’s where we’re trying to do, and we probably won’t make a decision right until the very end. We’ll weigh in the pros and cons of re-signing them versus trading them to the end.”

The play of the two forwards is another piece of the puzzle that must be explored. Zuccarello, along with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, has been one of the hottest lines in the NHL over the last month.

As of Feb. 17, Kreider, Zibanejad, and Zuccarello had recorded 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) in the last 14 games together.

Kevin Hayes has been playing quite well in all three zones, killing penalties and playing on the power play. Since the new year began, Hayes has played in 12 games, recording four goals and nine points. He is averaging 19:53 minutes of ice time and taking key faceoffs.

The organization has to weigh the options and see what benefits the club long term.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at