Fantasy Impact: The Winnipeg Jets have acquired center Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers for Brendan Lemieux, a first-round pick, plus a conditional pick.
The Jets get: a big centerman in his prime at 26 years of age, who has the versatility to play on any special teams unit and who can also play on the wing. Hayes is having a career year (68-point pace) and is an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
The Rangers get: a solid checking-line player who can score and has grit. Brendan Lemieux is his father's (Claude) son. They also get a great draft pick for 2019.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Hayes absence, which was entirely expected, opens up still more ice time for the next wave of skilled forwards. Particularly on the power play. Lias Andersson stands to benefit right away, ready or not. Ryan Strome, who at this point in his career is clearly a third-line center as opposed to the second line, may have to be miscast on the second line for now if Andersson doesn't produce right away. The loss of the talented Hayes means a downgrade for his former linemates – this year that has been either Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey, or Filip Chytil and Chris Kreider. Kreider is now in lockstep with Mika Zibanejad, so he'll be fine. It's the other players who will suffer. Whoever isn't on the Zibanejad line will suffer. Right now, Kreider and Vesey are safe. By process of elimination, that means Buchnevich and Chytil are hurt the most. And of course, Lemieux gets an ice-time bump on his new team.
In Winnipeg, Hayes will knock Bryan Little down to the third line. Using last game's line combos and slotting in Hayes on that second line, the combos will look like this:
With Mason Appleton, despite surprisingly strong play, as the 13th forward. This helps the first line become more of a threat, because it spreads out the opposition's focus. This also help Connor and Ehlers, as Hayes is slightly better than Little when it comes to creating offense at this point in their careers. And of course Perreault and Roslovic get a pretty good center in Little. Hayes himself enjoyed great chemistry this year with Kreider and Zibanejad. Now he gets (likely) upgraded talent with Connor and Ehlers. But the upgrade is marginal and the chemistry isn't there yet. Call this deal a wash for Hayes owners.
Fantasy players this helps, in order:
3. Winnipeg's first line
4. Lias Andersson
Fantasy players this hurts, in order:
This trade is being discussed right now in the forum here – add your two cents!