One of the bigger names on the NHL Trade Deadline board moved fairly early on Monday when Kevin Hayes was traded to the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets were a team rumored to be in on Hayes from the start and while they were also looking at Mark Stone, must have decided they didn’t want to risk waiting and wind up with neither player, made their move.
OFFICIAL: #NYR have acquired a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, forward Brendan Lemieux, and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Kevin Hayes.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 25, 2019
The trade will see Hayes leave the Rangers and go to the Jets for a first-round pick in 2019, forward Brendan Lemieux and a conditional fourth-round pick.
Hayes is the third-leading scorer for the Rangers this season with 42 points (14-28-42) in 51 games. He is on pace to set new highs and we was an ideal rental option at this year’s deadline. Not too expensive but definitely an asset that will help the Jets. Hayes will join the Jets as their likely second-line center and push veteran Bryan Little to the wing or own to the third line.
Pierre LeBrun notes (Twitter link) that there was no salary retention in the trade for the Rangers and that’s big if the Rangers need to make another move and retain salary in a future deal.
Prior to the deal, it was rumored the Calgary Flames, and Nashville Predators were rumored to be interested.
This all came after an initial report this morning that the Jets might actually be considering a move that would Patrik Laine out. That now seems unlikely considering Hayes is meant to join the team and make the Jets a contender this season. Moving Laine would completely defeat the purpose of adding a rental like Hayes who is not expected to re-sign with the Jets in the offseason.
The Winnipeg Jets were already a strong candidate and the addition of Hayes makes the team that much stronger.