What an offseason this is turning out to be for the Flyers, and their proud faithful. On Monday June 3rd, 2019 at approximately 8:40 p.m. the Flyers traded for the rights of Center Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets for a 5th Round Pick. A little over 2 weeks later the orange and black have signed Hayes to a 7 year-$50 million deal, worth an AAV of $7.14 million per season.
Hayes is a big bodied Center as he stands at 6’5,” and weighs 220 pounds. He provides much-needed size down the middle for the Flyers, and Hayes is also versatile. Hayes can play the wing and the PK. He is a legit scoring threat on the PK, which should help the Flyers immensely. Better yet, Nolan Patrick can now work his way into the 2C role, and not be forced there because of need. This alleviates pressure off of Patrick’s shoulders, and will allow him to grow into that role.
His most important attribute for the orange and black is his familiarity with now Head Coach Alain Vigneault. In 2017-18, Hayes played under Vigneault for the New York Rangers, a year in which he tallied a career high in goals with 25. Moreover, Hayes and Vigneault developed a good relationship and one that rubbed off on the locker room. Vigneault has nothing but good to say about Hayes. Moreover, Hayes should help with this group of Flyers to better understand Vigneault’s system. Fletcher is trying to make this locker room less toxic, by putting his own stamp on the roster.
Hayes is also a very good Penalty Killer. He will help tremendously in an area that has been an Achilles heel for the Flyers for the past few seasons. Hayes is also a scoring threat on the PK, and hopefully, he can save Claude Giroux from being on the PK. This would save wear and tear off Giroux, or even Sean Couturier for that matter. Overall, look for the PK to improve tremendously with the Hayes addition.
Do these recent additions, to include Justin Braun, Matt Niskanen, buying out Andrew MacDonald, and now Hayes, make the Flyers a contender? No, but this roster as constructed makes for an improved team from last season. The Flyers are vastly improved from top to bottom:
G, Coots, TK
JVR, Hayes, Voracek
Lindblom, Patrick, Prospect?
Raffl, Laughton, Hartman
Here are some general thoughts on the Hayes signing:
Think back all the way back to the exit interviews with Chuck Fletcher. Fletcher said that the Flyers were still an attractive destination for prime free agents. If Hayes didn’t sign with the Flyers would that still be the case? Probably not. The future of the Flyers organization and their brand was at the forefront with Hayes. Fletcher did what he had to, to protect the Flyers brand, in regards to free agents in the future.
This is a great day to be a Flyers fan. Chuck Fletcher made a bold move in acquiring Hayes’s rights, and it has paid off in a big way. Now the Flyers can cross looking for a 2C off their checklist for off-season additions.
Look for the PK to improve next season. With the additions of Hayes and Braun the PK should be vastly improved from the past few seasons. In addition, it’s pretty nice to have a scoring threat on the PK in Hayes.
Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports