December 12, 2018 | 11:30am ET
RANGERS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Mats Zuccarello, right wing
The New York Rangers entered the season with the mentality of continuing their retool and that appears to still be the case after 30 games into the 2018-19 campaign.
The Rangers aren’t out of the race just yet, sitting one point behind the Islanders for third in the Metropolitan Division, but their game plan seems to remain intact – they’re focused on the future.
As the season progresses, the Rangers are expected to engage in more trade discussions involving a number of their players.
Forwards Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes are set to become unrestricted free agents after the season and both are likely to be dealt by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has already fielded calls for both players, sources have told TFP, but trade talks have not yet intensified.
Several teams are in the market for extra fire power up front, especially as they inch closer to the deadline, and could make a play for either Zuccarello or Hayes.
The Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins are all in the market for additional scoring and could knock on Gorton’s door in the New Year.
Star forward Chris Kreider is also generating interest and he may also be on the move later this season.
Kreider, who owns an 11-team no-trade list, has attracted plenty of interest from other teams in the past and Gorton may be able to sell high on the 27-year-old should the Rangers opt to go down that route – he currently leads the Ranger in goals with 14.