The Flyers have traded for Kevin Hayes, perhaps filling a huge need down the middle for the club.
Hayes, 27, is an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but the Flyers now have an exclusive negotiating window to try and lock up a long-term contract with the former Boston College star for the low price of a fifth-round pick.
The 6-foot-5 Hayes could fill a void at second line center for the Flyers should GM Chuck Fletcher be able to get a contract done with a player coming off a career-high 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists) in 71 games with the Rangers and Jets. The Rangers dealt Hayes to the Jets at the trade deadline, but the cap strapped Jets were never going to be able to keep Hayes on a long-term deal.
Though Hayes will no doubt be looking to cash in, he’s produced at a .60 points per game clip in his career even with his breakout 2018-19 campaign, so the Flyers probably won’t be looking at too insane of a contact here. The fit is very good as Hayes brings a big body down the middle that produces and puts up solid possession numbers. He also gives the Flyers three really good centers down the middle with Sean Couturier already in place and hoping that Nolan Patrick takes a leap in his third NHL season.
The newly acquired pivot also has a bit of history with the Flyers’ new bench boss, too. Hayes played under Alain Vigneault in New York, posting 174 points in 310 games from 2014-15 through 2017-18.
Even though Fletcher still has work to do in order to get Hayes in the picture long-term, this is a great sign that the Flyers’ new general manager is ready to improve the club —and fast. We’ll see what the numbers end up being if Hayes is inked to a long-term deal, and as always we’ll have that info here for you.
Until then, Play Gloria.