Mailbag: Brendan Smith, Kevin Hayes, Lindy Ruff

brendan smith

It’s a slow summer in hockey. There aren’t many questions coming into the mailbag, so I held on to a few to have enough for a post. As always, use the widget on the right to send us questions.

Scott asks: What do you make of Brendan Smith this year?

This is a very loaded question. Smith is reportedly in tremendous shape this summer, knowing he needs this year to revive his NHL career. He also knows that he has stiff competition from the youngsters trying to crack the roster. He also knows that the Rangers have no qualms sending him to the AHL. That’s the trifecta right there. I expect him to have a bounce back year. But I also don’t expect him to finish that contract in New York.

Darren asks: You don’t see that Kevin Hayes deal as a bridge to a new deal in January? Why do you think he’s a sure-fire goner?

Darren is probably referencing my post over the weekend, where I looked at places Hayes might land in a trade. I didn’t really go into a scenario that the Rangers extend him after January 1, which is a legitimate possibility. The Rangers did something like this with Mats Zuccarello in 2014-2015, inking him to a one-year, $3.5 million deal before signing him to his current four year deal at $4.5 million a year. The Rangers needed the cap space, so Zucc took a team friendly deal with the assurance he would be extended.

There are many reasons why the Hayes situation is different. First and foremost, the Rangers don’t need the cap space. There was no need for them to come to a Zuccarello bridge. Second, and almost as important as the first, is Zuccarello took less than market value on his one-year deal. Hayes got what we expected him to get. There are also reports that Hayes didn’t want a multi-year deal, or at least didn’t want the multi-year deal the Rangers were offering.

When you put all three of these together, you get the one-year bridge and a trade chip. He’s not expensive, and he doesn’t come with a long-term commitment, which makes him trade bait. If he logs the big minutes and PP time under David Quinn that we are expecting, he should see a boost in his trade value.

Adam asks: Why in the world is Lindy Ruff still here?

Maybe coaches need a veteran presence in the locker room too? I don’t know.

Multiple emails: What happened to the RSS feed?

I’m looking into it. For some reason it stopped. I didn’t change anything on my end.

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11 thoughts on “Mailbag: Brendan Smith, Kevin Hayes, Lindy Ruff

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 8:38 am

    I’m not too surprised that Hayes is difficult to deal with. I mean, that’s how he ended up in NY in the first place. I thought Vesey may have had issues this summer as well for the same reasons.

    I believe all players should seek the most they can get in a contract. But it is telling when a player develops a pattern of contract disputes. This is better than him holding out, but I don’t get the feeling either side really liked this outcome.

    • Aug 9, 2018 at 10:20 am

      What happened with Hayes in Chicago had nothing to do with money and everything to do with opportunity. Hayes and his agent looked at Chicago’s depth chart and realized it was crowded and decided it was worth using up his NCAA eligibility and then going UFA so they could pick the best market.

      The NHL allowed a loop hole for 4 year college draftees and Hayes (and Vesey, along with other draftees) took advantage of it. But to say that makes him difficult in negotiations is a bit unfair.

      • Aug 9, 2018 at 10:40 am

        I agree Chris A and I have said it numerous of times, Hayes picked the NYR because he saw a place where he could outgrow someone like Stepan. He bet on himself while learning to play arguably the most taxing position in all of sports on the fly without time in the AHL.

        Chrisqtc next time just own it and say you don’t like him. He also wanted to get out of Chicago to get closer to one of his sick parents who was diagnose of cancer at the time. There’s no such thing to suggest he’s difficult at negotiating. The team paid paid him 2x more than what Stepan got on his bridge deal and the GM didn’t have to out him infront of the hockey world 🙂

        • Aug 9, 2018 at 10:47 am

          I think no one here knows what is in Haye’s head or why Gorton cut the deal he did. It is all supposition, so how about everyone chills.

          • Aug 9, 2018 at 3:28 pm

            Exactly Sal.

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Hayes might have not liked the idea that he was being shopped all summer. I think he has a spot on this team, even if it is only for the short-term.

    Brendan Smith adds a grit to the game that we do not have on the ice. Whether he impresses enough to make the team is another story. I think the best case scenario would be for both players to make the team, play well, and both be packaged for someone’s first round pick. It also would clear more CAP space for a run at Panarin and possibly a righty defenseman.

    Since these seem logical to me, it is not even close to what will actually happen.

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Unless we have a total surprise, Smith makes the team and if he plays great then he will likely be dealt at the deadline.

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    How well Smith plays this year will be a major factor for the defense of the NY Rangers. If he could be that veteran presence and play a steady game, the Rangers defense could be decent. A healthy Shatty plus Pionk being a year matured will help. We may also find lightning in a bottle with some of the young talented players on D coming up as well as DeAngelo maturing. Maybe a bigger problem this year, will be the ability to put the puck in the net.

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    On Brendan Smiths best day he is a 3rd pair defenseman….Bad trade…worse re-signing…add it to the list

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    We have a defense of Brady Skjei and all the rest are 3rd line defenseman.

    If the young forwards show they can make the club, I can see Hayes being moved down to 3rd or even 4th line duties. Chytil will end up being the 2nd line center who needs a guy like Zucc on his wing.

  • Aug 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Smith and Skjei were our best pair in the 2017 Playoffs. No reason he can’t be on the first or second pair with either Skjei or Shattenkirk and be a solid piece of that pair. Not every defenseman needs to put up 40 plus points.

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