The Rangers have never believed in the long-term center


It's not as much the Winnipeg Rangers' return as Kevin Hayes's. Because, once you've accepted the fact, management has never really equated number 13 as a trustworthy and reliable trustworthy piece to grant a five or six year contract extension, for an amount of approximately $ 6 to $ 6.5 million per person. Warrant Officer Brendan Lemieux of the six Jets acquired by Jets General Manager Jeff Gorton represents a reasonable rental yield.

Of course, the price requested by Hayes for an extension has increased over the season. The numbers above were accurate during the last off season. When the Rangers checked the site a few weeks ago, the number could go up to seven years to $ 7 million. It's hard to know if the management reacted, but it was already too late. The course has been traced.

If Blue Shirts had believed in Hayes as part of the foundation, they would have done it during the summer instead of signing the center for this one – year, long – term deal. $ 5.175 million. If they believed that Hayes would be the same player under a long-term contract that he had been for them with consecutive one-year contracts, they would have started talks immediately. after January 1st. They have not been.

Look, we're not talking about Jean Ratelle here. Nor Walter Tkaczuk. Objectively, if Kevin Hayes is your second best player (behind Mika Zibanejad), you probably will not compete for a championship. But the fact is that Hayes converted to a pro after a second season and became a reliable two-way leader and center with the puck at the same time and added an extra dimension to the power play and penalty. kill.

Everyone knows the aging curve and how the peak years of players arrive earlier than expected in a career. But Hayes, who will celebrate his next birthday in the second round of the playoffs, was a better player this year at age 26 than at age 25, and at age 25 he was light years away from where he was. at 23 years old. much better physical condition. He is more engaged in his job.

The first lap in Winnipeg will likely be between 23rd and 31st. Chances are that the player that the Blues Shirts choose at this location will never be as good as Hayes does now. Of course, the Rangers do not have the ambition to win. In this context, planning for the future is not only prudent, it is mandatory. The fact is that the Blue Shirts need a stable bridge to be able to cross by then, and they constantly remove the boards. Not being ready to win becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may have read this a few dozen times in this space.

And that too: the Rangers must have some sort of foundation in place to attract free agents. They may have a plethora of free spaces to work in early summer, but no one rises to be part of a bad team in a high-tax state.

Last summer and at the beginning of the year, there was a lot of talk about how the Rangers could not keep Zibanejad and Hayes, as the team needed to clear the middle spots for Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson. In my opinion, both centers were pillars that the Rangers could reload. But the door is now open for children.

This is the door Hayes was sent to on his way to Winnipeg for a decent return if he was not believed in the center. What the Rangers have obviously never done.

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