Kevin Hayes Mats Zuccarello
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers look to be protecting their trade assets scratching Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and Adam McQuaid Sunday.

Dom Renna

Let the trade rumors heat up even further.

After playing in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Minnesota, the New York Rangers will scratch Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and Adam McQuaid Sunday according to a report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

During Wednesday’s game, McQuaid would leave the game in the first period with what looked to be an apparent injury. Ultimately, he was held out for precautionary reasons, while he probably should have never been in the lineup to start.

The result of the scratches means New York will be dressing 11 forwards and seven defensemen with Boo Nieves and Fredrik Claesson returning to the lineup. Both were healthy scratches for Wednesday’s game.

The news of the three veteran forwards sitting out of game action is nothing new around this time of year. Teams all around the league sit their players on the trade block around the trade deadline to prevent a potential deal-breaking injury. It would have been foolish for general manager Jeff Gorton to let the three play with just two days until the deadline.

McKenzie would go on to report how the Rangers as a team have been dealing with the flu making it a question if they would have enough manpower to sit all three. Remember, the team just called up Lias Andersson prior to Wednesday’s game and scratched Nieves instead of scratching one of the forwards on the trade block.

Reports out there suggest the Nashville Predators are showing heavy interest in Hayes along with Zuccarello, some are even saying a deal could involve both players headed over to the Preds. For McQuaid, Toronto has been the rumored destination for a few weeks now.

While the deadline is Monday, McKenzie believes New York will pull the trigger on deals involving all three before Feb. 25.

In all likihood, they have played their last game as a Rangers.

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Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.