Elliotte Friedman, in his always fun 31 Thoughts article this week, threw out two new teams that could be in the hunt for Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello. Friedman implied that the Blue Jackets will pursue Hayes heavily if they don’t land Matt Duchene, while his mentioning of Dallas on Zuccarello was more about kicking the tires.
Starting with Columbus and what they can give for Hayes, the obvious is their 1st round pick. I’m unsure if their 2019 1st would be on the table because they already traded their 2nd rounder this year, but their 2020 1st, in a much deeper draft, might be on the table. That’s good.
If the Rangers are indeed targeting defensemen again, which appears to be the case after the Darren Raddysh trade, then I can see the Blueshirts targeting defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, Columbus’ 6th round pick in 2015. The 23-year-old Gavrikov plays with Igor Shestyorkin on SKA St. Petersburh in the KHL, with a line of 5-15-20 in 58 games. Hes a big defender that skates well and has mobility, but he’s not the best puck mover. Gavrikov would be someone the Rangers can likely slot into the lineup next year if he comes over with Shestyorkin.
If the Rangers are going for elite potential –and assuming Kirill Marchenko is unavailable in this type of trade– then I’d prefer Liam Foudy. Foudy’s skating is on the elite level, and his speed causes problems, especially in the transition game. His hands don’t match his feet though. But the potential is there.
As for Dallas, they have both 1sts (2019, 2020) and this year’s 2nd available. I am still of the belief that Zuccarello’s trade value is a 1st + decent prospect or a 2nd + good prospect. In the latter scenario, I’d hope the Rangers go after Denis Gurianov, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. I say Gurianov over Roope Hintz because Hintz has stuck in the lineup in Dallas, while Gurianov has been yo-yo’d. Gurianov has the higher ceiling, but Hintz seems to be more steady.
In the lower tier, there is Jason Robertson, whose stock has risen with a strong WJC. We know how the Rangers like to target players that had strong WJC Tournaments (Libor Hajek the most recent example). I can see Robertson and either a 1st or a 2nd.
It’s a weird trade deadline thus far because Columbus is now the 80th team linked to Hayes, and Dallas the 50th team to check in on Zuccarello. Obviously there’s hyperbole here, but both have been linked to a bunch of different teams and nothing is concrete. The market may move once Matt Duchene is traded, and possibly Mark Stone. Jeff Gorton may need to wait this out.