The rebuild continues for the New York Rangers, folks.
On trade deadline day (February 25), the Blueshirts shipped forward Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2019 first round pick, Brendan Lemieux, and a conditional pick.
We knew this was coming. After the team traded forward Mats Zuccarello on Saturday night to the Dallas Stars, it was only a matter of time before Hayes got dealt.
For the past few seasons, Hayes was one of the better players on the Blueshirts. In his four-plus seasons on Broadway, he had point totals of 45 (2014-15), 36 (2015-16), 49 (2016-17), 44 (2017-18), and had 42 with the team this season.
There is no doubt that Hayes is going to be missed. He had a ton of skill, could dangle with the best of them, great vision, and had a great shot whenever he decided to use it.
With that said, this is a deal that had to be made for both parties involved. For Hayes, it is an opportunity to play in the postseason with a legitimate Cup contender.
It is also an opportunity to play with an extremely talented and skilled hockey club. With guys like Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, and several others.
For the Rangers, it was an opportunity to get more draft picks and get younger as Lemieux is just 22-years-old. Gone are the days of the Rangers looking for veterans and in are the days where the team is looking to get younger and faster and build for a better future.
Hayes provided four and a half seasons of good service for the Rangers. Like everything else in life, however, all good things must come to an end.
For the Rangers, let’s hope it’s an end that leads them back to the playoffs one day.