NHL Rumors: Hayes, Karlsson, Athanasiou, More

In today’s rumor rundown, Kevin Hayes leaving the New York Rangers is not as “obvious” as some might believe, Detroit is still considering trading one of their speedy forwards, the Minnesota Wild stayed quiet this summer for good reason and an interesting team was thrown out there as in the running for Erik Karlsson.

Kevin Hayes to Stay in New York

Dan Rosen of NHL.com writes that when the New York Rangers and Kevin Hayes agreed on a one-year deal earlier this offseason, most thought it signaled the end of his stay in New York and that his status as an unrestricted free agent meant he would be traded at some point this season. Rosen goes on to suggest that might not be the case.

Kevin Hayes Rangers
Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers, Mar. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hayes appears hopeful to remain in New York long-term and he was reassured by Ranger GM Jeff Gorton, after a two-hour meeting, the Rangers want him too and have no intention of trading him during the season. Hayes said of his signing a one-year extension, “At the moment, [the signing] was best for both sides. We couldn’t really come to a long-term agreement and a one-year deal is what came out of it.” He added that he’ll be approaching the year like he’s not going anywhere. “I’m not treating it like I’ll be out of there in February or at the end of the year. Everyone keeps saying UFA at the end of the year, but that had nothing to do with the decision,” he explained.

Gorton said of the one-year contract:

“In a perfect world, Kevin Hayes is here after one more year and we keep going with him. Everything goes the way he wants it to and we do. We certainly have (the NHL salary cap) room to keep him and move forward, it’s just a matter of the contract. As we went through the process, the one-year deal seemed to be the best fit for what we’re doing right now. I think Kevin was comfortable saying, ‘OK, I’ll come back this year and I’ll do exactly what I say I’m going to do, and then let’s talk.’ We’re comfortable with that too.”

The Rangers are a team that is speculated to be rebuilding but also known as a team that might try to turn the team around as quickly as possible. Doing so means not dumping every strong player in the system and a good year by Hayes would speed the rebuild up tremendously.

Related: NHL Rumors: Eberle, Seguin, Hanifin, More

Why the Wild Stayed Calm

Michael Rand of the Star Tribune wrote that while the Minnesota Wild didn’t make any significant trades during this offseason — there were rumors of trades including names like Matt Dumba, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter — it wasn’t for a lack of trying and that first-year general manager Paul Fenton said the team didn’t make many moves because other GM’s were trying to take advantage of him and his team that was in transition.

At a recent Wild fan festival, Fenton explained that team wasn’t presented with any “good” deals to make. Rand believes, however, the Wild are a team to keep an eye on at the trade deadline and that Minnesota could swing a blockbuster deal after a full season of evaluation. 

Andreas Athanasiou For a Defenseman?

MLive’s Ansar Khan writes that the speculation Andreas Athanasiou is a trade possibility out of Detroit still exists and that the Red Wings might use Athanasiou to land a more consistent player. While young and potentially a player that offers strong upside, Athanasiou’s season in 2017-18 was disappointing compared to expectations.

Andreas Athanasiou Red Wings
Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings, December 20, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Khan does admit that missing training camp and the first 10 games of the season didn’t help but that the team is still considering a move, particularly if they can help improve their defense. Khan adds that this would not be a similar situation to the Tomas Tatar trade to Vegas where the Red Wings picked up draft picks. Detroit would prefer to make a player for player move.

Related: NHL Rumors: Karlsson, Nylander, Galchenyuk, More

Vegas and Theodore Not There Yet

A report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal suggests that restricted free agent defenseman Shea Theodore and the Vegas Golden Knights are no closer to a deal and that there is a potential getting something signed drags out for some time. With only three weeks to training camp, Theodore’s name is still in the rumor mill when it comes to a player the team might trade (especially if there’s still interest in Erik Karlsson).

Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore
Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

The speculated issue is that Theodore wants a long-term deal and the organization is leaning more toward a bridge contract. Vegas GM George McPhee holds most of the cards here as Theodore is coming off his entry-level deal and has no arbitration rights. If he stays, a short-term deal is the most likely scenario.

Erik Karlsson to New Jersey?

A report that comes out of left field is that Erik Karlsson might be piquing the interest of the New Jersey Devils. How accurate this report is remains unclear but Nick Villano of Pucks and Pitchforks examined the rumor and suggested sources citing the Devils were willing to offer up something attractive. While the Devils were, at one time, speculated to be a third-party team in a Karlsson trade, at best, the team trading for him outright is a long shot.