Irresponsible Rumormongering

Is Ottawa’s mess a concern for the Rangers?

Disclaimer: This post is now outdated, as Duchene is going to Columbus. The deal is finalized, leaving Hayes as the only high-end UFA center on the market. I’ve never had a post get so outdated so quickly. This post was relevant for 9 minutes. But hey, enjoy!

For the second straight year, the Ottawa Senators will have at least one big name player on the market that trumps all other players available. Last year Ryan McDonagh was supposed to be the biggest name available, until Erik Karlsson was made available. This year Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello are two of the bigger names, trumped by Matt Duchene (available for a while) and Mark Stone (available as of yesterday).

While we can’t prove one way or another, there are rumblings that McDonagh’s trade value was impacted by Karlsson’s availability. We don’t know if Karlsson’s availability took away some better offers than what the Rangers eventually took from Tampa, although it appears unlikely since Karlsson was a RD and McDonagh a LD.

What we do know so far, or what we think we know, is that the teams interested in Hayes and Zuccarello are also interested in Stone and Duchene. Winnipeg, Columbus, Nashville, and Boston are the four teams that constantly get mentioned. Calgary has mostly been tied to Zuccarello, but it’s a safe assumption that they’ve at least kicked the tires on Stone and Duchene.

What separates the Rangers’ assets from Ottawa’s is cost. Hayes and Zuccarello are complementary pieces and will cost less. Duchene and Stone are big-time adds that will cost an arm and a leg. However there is no denying that Stone and Duchene are better players than Hayes and Zuccarello, and assuming identical cost, teams will go for the Ottawa duo.

The concern isn’t necessarily about the players or the cost differential, it’s that the same teams linked to Hayes and Zucc are the ones linked to Stone and Duchene. Now this could just be lazy reporting and assumptions, but it is logical to assume that teams that wanted the Rangers’ duo would want the Senators’ duo, since they all play the same position.

What sets the Rangers apart from Ottawa is that their duo can have a lower cost, and thus packaged together to a team for what one of Stone/Duchene would cost. Or at least that’s my inference from rumored costs. Teams like Winnipeg or Nashville, who have the primary pieces in place and just want to round out their rosters, will probably get more value in two middle-six forwards for the same price of one top-six forward.

(Of course that last sentence can also be used as logic for trading for one player, so it’s a grey area.)

The difference between Karlsson/McDonagh and Stone-Duchene/Hayes-Zuccarello is that the same teams seem to be involved for this year’s deadline prizes. We don’t know yet if this will impact the Rangers, but it makes you wonder if Jeff Gorton shot himself in the foot by not moving on from Hayes earlier in the season when he had the chance.

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  • deal done on Duchene to Columbus and now seeing Panarin is off the market too..pushing up our UFA’s trade values. Ottawa please sign Stone and Dzingel.

  • It is important to remember in all this that if you are going to acquire a rental with a significant salary, the later you do it the better. It is not easy to fit all the players you want under the cap and even saving a few days’ cap hit can be meaningful. Presumably many teams would have had trouble affording Hayes in November. The big salaries always move either on deadline day or very close to it.

    And this competition with other sellers for a limited group of buyers, that happens every year too.

  • I don’t wonder at all about moving Hayes earlier — most teams that are true contenders just don’t see the need to upgrade quite as much as they do once you get past the All-Star break, consequently without the pressure to compete for available players they’re looking for better deals. As the deadline approaches contenders see an even greater need to keep up with the Jones so to speak.

    I think the easy part is getting 1st rounders for both Zucc and Hayes (especially when Boyle gets a 2nd), the hard part is getting another team’s best prospect and not having to settle for their 2nd, 3rd or 4th best prospect (unless of course that’s actually the prospect you’re aiming for).

    It will be interesting to see what Duchene fetched … rumors say Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, but that doesn’t seem like enough IMHO.

      • Yeah, it’s an ok haul … Abramov should be good, but this trade will pan out if Davidsson delivers.

        Not sure what Columbus is thinking. To be honest I would just trade Panarin and Bobrovsky (for whatever they can get) and just move on. Not sure fans could blame them, they were put in an impossible position which, after they exit the playoffs (and they will), just got a whole lot worse.

        • Abramov can’t skate, too small, can’t handle the A.

          Davidsson is okay, I wonder how he’ll play away from his brother.

          This isn’t 4 quarters for a dollar; it’s a nickel, a dime, a quarter and maybe another quarter for $2.

  • Feeling better about Hayes now that Duchene is off table, I think Gorton is going to have more than a few teams competing for Zucc… I’m looking for similar decent returns on both. I think we will be pleasantly surprised on Zucc, a feisty character guy and has a good playoff history.

    • Hayes is now the best center available … and the trade takes Columbus out of the seller’s market. Win-win.

      Re: Zucc, I have the feeling teams will rate Stone and maybe Simmonds and Nyquist ahead of him, but like you said Zucc is playoff battle tested.

  • Dave, I think Gorton’s patience is actually paying off. I mean look it bro, Hayes had a very good year – and for a Ranger team that since October was slated for lottery, plus suddenly everyone wants to play in New York again. I think the fairness and environment change in the locker room and behind the bench, as well as the work ethic of this team is admirable. Now check this out, Duchene is gone…to Columbus? Man, don’t know what that’s about, but anyway expect the price to rise a bit on both Zucc and Hayes from the rest of the field. This weekend, and game(s) should be very interesting.

  • Ottawa is a shining example how not to run a hockey franchise. I am hoping Gorton has some sort of vision in what he is trying to achieve in a few years. The Senators are all over the map.

    • As someone at TSN mentioned, the Sens were chasing what they gave up to get Duchene in the first place. Both our guys, Hayes and Zucc were FA signings, we have nothing to chase, just the best high quality deal.

  • Don’t be surprised if both Hayes and Zuc go to the Preds.

    I hope so, they have great prospects and I would root for Nashville to win the Cup. They would be formidable acquisitions for the Preds.

    • Funny, I couldn’t imagine a statement like yours getting any down votes. For starters I would take Tolvanen (and something more) for either one in a nanosecond — even if some out there seem to be a bit down on him suggesting he’s a perimeter player. He’s the type of top quality you want to go after, not say an Abramov from Columbus … more like a Cale Makar.

      • I’ve been “on a roll” the wrong way pal. I think it’s because you exposed me as a fraud. 🙂

        Tovananen, Fabbro, and a first should do it for both. Never happen but we can dream, no?

        • I’m lukewarm about Fabbro … and dealing two prized rentals to one team probably nets you less than dealing them separately. I would do Zucc and a 2nd for Tolvanen and their 1st and 3rd, something like that … then deal Hayes to Winnipeg for Kristian Vesalainen and a 2nd (again, something like that). Obviously I would try to get more from each, but my point is to go out and get two top winger prospects — they should be the focal point, not the late 1st rounders we could get (you try to get them of course). Then I pray Adam Fox stays at Harvard another year and becomes a UFA. 😉

      • Tolvanen wouldn’t make my protection list, Fabbro is just a guy with a sizable risk of him going UFA.

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