NHL Trade Analysis: Kevin Hayes Traded to Winnipeg Jets

NHL Trade Analysis: Kevin Hayes Traded to Winnipeg Jets

Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers to the Winnipeg Jets.

The New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets completed a trade this morning that sent Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg gets its top-six forward it had been looking for. New York receives picks to continue its long-term rebuild. Here are the particulars.

  • Jets acquire Kevin Hayes
  • Rangers acquire 2019 first-round pick
  • New York Rangers get 2022 fourth round conditional pick
  • Rangers receive Brendan Lemieux

The condition states that if Winnipeg does not win the Stanley Cup, then there is no extra pick. Let’s take a look at the quick impacts.

What Kevin Hayes deal means for the New York Rangers

Draft pick with conditions screams the norm. The bottom line becomes New York received a serviceable forward in Brendan Lemieux. Furthermore, Lemieux plays with an edge as a competent bottom-six forward. The first-round pick expects to be somewhere in the 20’s more than likely which adds to Rangers’ draft chest. Jeff Gorton of the New York Rangers may not be done adding just yet either.

Winnipeg winning the Stanley Cup seems far-fetched at this juncture but one never knows. A 2022 fourth-round pick looks like a throw-in of throw-ins anyway. Consequently, like the Zuccarello deal, the New York Rangers got a 1st and Lemieux. That feels like the look for this kind of trade which was market dictated.

What Kevin Hayes means for the Winnipeg Jets

Hayes figures prominently in the top-six for Winnipeg. Projections suggest the former New York Rangers forward will slot between Nik Ehlers and Kyle Connor. Hayes enjoyed a career season with 42 points in 51 games and relative possession metrics over 6% above the team average. His numbers are not a fluke as his on-ice shooting percentage is around career norms. Also, the shooting percentage doesn’t depart too far off from his average. That is the growing theme here.

Hayes, at just 26, still has a few prime years left as well. The forward fits well into Winnipeg’s power play. He generated 11 power-play points for the New York Rangers. Expect Hayes initially to be on the second unit which gets stronger now. Hayes moves without the puck well, has pretty good speed, and an above average selective shot. Early in the season, Hayes was pickier but over the last 20 games, the forward averaged almost three shots a game.

Back to Connor and Ehlers, Hayes should enjoy instant chemistry with them. Ehlers may be on the second power-play unit as well. Also, Hayes does not have to be the top center with Mark Scheifele on the roster and can draw the easier matchups. His passing improved greatly this season which was noticed by teams like the Winnipeg Jets. The cap hit leaves enough of a cushion to add a defenseman. Injuries to Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey precipitate considering such a move. Kevin Cheveldayoff likely is not done. With a full roster size, Winnipeg would have to make a corresponding move because of the Hayes deal.

Some final observations…

Hayes expects to thrive in Winnipeg. He stands an outside chance of hitting 20 goals and ending up with 55-60 points. Considering, Hayes missed about ten games due to injury, that’s good production. Finally, the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets are not done. That must be emphasized.