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Over The Boards

Mailbag: Rangers' plans with Hayes, Zuccarello; Boeser's next contract

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answers weekly questions

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Here is the Jan. 23 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which runs every Wednesday. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

 

Do you see the New York Rangers possibly packaging Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes in a deal for a big return (similar to last year's deal involving J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh)? Could see the Colorado Avalanche as strong suitors. -- @salvaticoo

No. Zuccarello and Hayes each can be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and it's unlikely the same team would acquire them in the same trade because they'd have to give up too much, potentially their top two picks in the 2019 NHL Draft and a prospect or two, for two players who might be on their team for a few months. The Rangers traded McDonagh when he had one season left on his contract and Miller when he was a pending restricted free agent, meaning the Tampa Bay Lightning had control of his rights. The Rangers got a strong return from the Lightning (forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Brett Howden, defenseman Libor Hajek, a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional second round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft), largely because McDonagh and Miller were not rentals. I think the Rangers could get at least a first-round pick for Hayes, and at least a second-round pick for Zuccarello.

 

How would you judge the Nino Niederreiter-Victor Rask trade? Who got the edge? -- @MeierGilles

Going off what we know now, since this is a one-for-one trade, the Carolina Hurricanes get the edge because acquiring Niederreiter, a right wing, from the Minnesota Wild gives them a more productive forward than they had in Rask, a center.

Niederreiter had 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) and averaged 14:37 of ice time per game, including 2:04 on the power play, in 46 games when the trade was made Jan. 17. He was averaging 1.76 shots on goal per game, a drop from his 2.04 shots per game in the previous four seasons, including 2.11 last season. He needs to shoot more, but he's not far off from his normal. Rask has been way off, which suggests it'll be harder for him to get back to the productive player he was for Carolina from 2015-17, when he had 93 points (37 goals, 56 assists) in 162 games. He had six points (one goal, five assists), 25 shots on goal and averaged 12:02 per game, including 1:50 on the power play, in 26 games with Carolina. His production this season continues a downward trend that started last season, when he averaged 0.44 points and 1.77 shots per game after averaging 0.57 points and 2.14 shots per game from 2015-17.

We can't deny that it's good for the Wild that they got a center and a cap savings of $1.25 million per season for the next three seasons in the trade -- Niederreiter ($5.25 million average annual value) and Rask ($4 million AAV) each is signed through the 2021-22 seasons. The savings and the fact that Rask is a center might be why the Hurricanes didn't have to throw in an extra asset in the trade, but is it enough to offset the difference in production in a one-for-one trade, especially with how Rask is trending? That's debatable.

Video: Hurricanes acquire Niederreiter, deal Rask to Wild

 

With Teuvo Teravainen signing a new contract, is the AAV of $5.4 million a fair comparison for what Brock Boeser could get from the Vancouver Canucks? -- @Vishan_Joel

Boeser likely will try to go higher than the five-year, $27 million contract Teravainen signed Monday. I could see Boeser, who can become a restricted free agent July 1, using William Nylander's six-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which carries a $6.9 million AAV for five seasons starting next season, as a comparable.

Let's look at the production comparables for Nylander, Boeser and Teravainen:

Nylander had 122 points (42 goals, 80 assists) in 163 games in the past two seasons, a point-per-game average of 0.75, before signing Dec. 1.

Boeser has 93 points (49 goals, 44 assists) in 108 games since making his debut late in the 2016-17 season, a point-per-game average of 0.86. Vancouver has 32 games remaining this season, including a game against the Hurricanes on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNP, FS-CR, NHL.TV), which means Boeser should be well over 100 points in as many as 140 games in his first two-plus NHL seasons provided he stays healthy.

Teravainen had 103 points (33 goals, 70 assists) in his past 130 games, a point-per-game average of 0.79, before signing his contract Monday.

Simple math shows that Boeser has been more productive than the other two. The other factor is age. Boeser turns 22 on Feb. 25, the same age as Nylander. Teravainen is 24.

 

Most likely return for Wayne Simmonds? -- @BretH90278101

The Philadelphia Flyers should be in the market for a first-round draft pick for Simmonds, who is in the final season of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. There could be a bidding frenzy for the veteran forward because of his ability to help a team in multiple ways, including at the net on the power play. To find one comparison, last season, the Rangers got a second-round pick and defenseman prospect Yegor Rykov from the New Jersey Devils for forward Michael Grabner, who was in the final season of his contract. Simmonds is a more impactful and productive player than Grabner, which is why a first-round pick is reasonable, especially if multiple teams are involved in a bidding war.

Video: MIN@PHI: Simmonds rings in second goal on breakaway

 

Given the New York Islanders turnaround, Barry Trotz is deservedly in the conversation, if not a shoo-in for the Jack Adams Award. If he keeps it up, Robin Lehner could be in the Vezina Trophy mix. But do you think Lehner gets a nod for the Masterton Trophy? -- @mikeybox

Yes. Lehner should be the Islanders nominee for the Masterton Trophy, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Lehner falls under the perseverance category. He has battled bravely through personal struggles, including depression, substance abuse and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder to resume his NHL career in a positive way. He is making a difference on the ice and we hope he continues to win his daily battle off the ice too.

 

Is Patrick Kane the greatest U.S.-born player ever? -- @RichBooth1

He will be when he retires if he keeps on his current pace, especially because we can't count Brett Hull, who was born in Canada. The Chicago Blackhawks forward, who is 30, is 12th in NHL history among players born in the United States with 899 points (341 goals, 558 assists) in 872 games. He is second in points per game (1.03) behind Pat LaFontaine (1.17). Kane needs 475 points to tie Mike Modano (1,374) for most points among U.S.-born players. He will have the record by the time he's 36 or 37 if he stays status quo. He's already a three-time Stanley Cup champion and a winner of the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy, Calder Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. What he's done so far puts him in the discussion as a front-runner. Let's let him complete his career before we hand him the title though.

 

Hated to see Rick Nash retire so early. Who are some other current stars we should appreciate now before they leave the NHL too soon? -- @BartlettBrando

Nash announced his retirement Jan. 11 because of medical reasons at age 34. Let's hope none of the nine players I am listing below are forced to leave the game earlier they'd want.

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin: They're not going anywhere any time soon if we're lucky, but we all should appreciate the greatness of these two stars daily, which is why I put them together for this answer. Ovechkin, 33, and Crosby, 31, have been the faces of the NHL since they were rookies for the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively, in 2005-06.

Joe Thornton: The San Jose Sharks center is 39. He's in terrific shape but time will catch up soon. He's 10th in NHL history with 1,045 assists, four shy of tying Gordie Howe for ninth.

Patrick Marleau: Marleau is 39 and has one season left on his three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's ninth all-time in games played with 1,623; the Maple Leafs have 34 games remaining, starting against the Capitals on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS), and could be fifth by the end of this season if he stays healthy.

Henrik Lundqvist: Arguably the best goalie in New York Rangers history, Lundqvist, 36, is sixth all-time in wins with 446, eight shy of tying Curtis Joseph for fifth. He needs 28 more games to tie Grant Fuhr for 10th.

Ryan Getzlaf: The Anaheim Ducks center is a model of consistency with 907 points (257 goals, 650 assists) in 961 games. The 33-year-old likely will play in his 1,000th NHL game early next season.

Patrice Bergeron: The Boston Bruins center, 33, is a four-time Selke Trophy winner and arguably the best defensive forward of all time. He is four games shy of 1,000 for his career.

Roberto Luongo: The Florida Panthers goalie is fourth all-time in wins with 481, three shy of tying Ed Belfour for third. The 39-year-old also is third all-time in games by a goalie with 1,026, three shy of tying Patrick Roy for second.

Marc-Andre Fleury: The Vegas Golden Knights goalie is an NHL treasure because of his sense of humor and his talent. The 34-year-old, who is ninth all-time in wins (437) going into their game against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN), should be getting some buzz for the Vezina Trophy this season with his League-leading 27 wins, a 2.50 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and NHL-high six shutouts.

Video: Rick Nash retires after 15 seasons in the NHL

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