After an evening of speculation, it appears as though it’s set in stone. A gamble earlier this month has paid off for Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers. The team traded a 2019 fifth-round pick to the Jets in exchange for Kevin Hayes. The hope was that before he hit free agency, the team would have first dibs on locking down the 27-year old…and they’ve done just that.
Hayes has agreed to terms on a deal worth $50M over seven years, according to numerous reports.
Well, this is simply a franchise-changing move to kickstart the new era. Hayes played for Vigneault for 4 seasons before the current Flyers Head Coach was relieved of those duties with the New York Rangers following the 2017-18 season. During that span, Hayes tallied 73 goals under Vigneault, including a 25 goal season in 2017-18.
Hayes was then traded to the Jets, where he tallied 19 goals, and registered 35 assists for 54 points in 71 games played last year. He provides much need size (6’5) down the middle for the orange and black and after being linked with the team all offseason, his arrival in Philadelphia felt imminent the moment Vigneault was hired.
Hayes brings a good mix of physicality and skill to the Flyers, amassing 229 points in 381 career NHL games. Now, Hayes will be a player to build their new-look offense around as a towering forward who can spearhead attacking moves and draw plenty of defensive attention.
It’s a lot of money. A lot of money…but Vigneault’s record speaks for itself, and so does that of Kevin Hayes. The question is, will a history of playoff success repeat itself?
Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports