Potential suitors for Flyers’ Hayes at NHL Trade Deadline

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Flyers' Kevin Hayes
Philadelphia Flyers’ Kevin Hayes reacts after an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As the NHL Trade Deadline approaches, multiple Philadelphia Flyers players are gaining traction. James van Riemsdyk, Nick Seeler, Ivan Provorov, and Kevin Hayes are all potential trade pieces.

van Riemsdyk appears the most likely to be dealt. Seeler is gaining steam, but it’ll take an offer Chuck Fletcher cannot refuse to move the defenseman. Provorov, at a time, was a popular trade candidate before the discussion quieted down.

Hayes is the most interesting and complicated name on the list. The 30 year old center is having a career season, recognized as an NHL All-Star.

John Tortorella benched Hayes multiple times, including the decision to make him a healthy scratch versus the New York Rangers. Additionally, Tortorella moved Hayes to the left wing because Noah Cates is more defensively reliable.

Hayes is in the final three years of his 7yr/$50mil ($7.142AAV) contract. The Flyers likely retain salary in a trade, which helps draw more offers. A modified no-trade clause allows Hayes some control, submitting a twelve team list including teams he would or would not agree for a trade.

What teams are interested in Philadelphia’s 2023 All-Star forward?

Carolina Hurricanes

Atop the Metropolitan Division, the Carolina Hurricanes are seven points behind the Boston Bruins, the top team in the NHL. Other teams in the Metro made splashes in the trade market, and Carolina could be the next.

Carolina shows interest in Timo Meier, but Hayes fits their needs. He could be the second line center behind Sebastian Aho.

Philadelphia needs to retain some of Hayes’ contract, but the Hurricanes are planning a deep playoff run. Hayes strengthens an already dominant lineup.

Winnipeg Jets

Hayes is familiar with Winnipeg. He went there in 2019, dealt by the Rangers. As a Jet, Hayes played in 20 regular season games and six postseason games.

Currently, the Jets are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Dallas Stars for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Hayes fits as either a center or left-wing in the Jets’ bottom-six. In 2019, Winnipeg acquired Hayes when his contract was expiring. His three remaining years make him a useful short-term option.

Colorado Avalanche

The reigning Stanley Cup champions are struggling in 2022-2023. Injuries hindered the Avalanche, who snuck into playoff position with the Jets and Stars in the Central Division.

Since Nazem Kadri left for the Flames, Colorado missed a second line center. Hayes helps strengthen the Avalanche down the center of the lineup in pursuit of Calgary.

He doesn’t have to be a rental with the Avalanche. It would be challenging financially due to Nathan MacKinnon’s 8yr/$100.8mil ($12.6mil/AAV) extension beginning in 2023-2024.

Boston Bruins

After missing out on Bo Horvat, the Bruins will want to make a big splash. Hayes is a Massachusetts native and would make an immediate impact in a lineup with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Hayes is the perfect veteran to mix in Boston.

The Bruins are current favorites (+475) to win the Stanley Cup. Some reassurance in scoring down the middle in their bottom-six will help, and Hayes would be versatile on the left-wing for Jim Montgomery.

No Trade?

If a deal isn’t made before the NHL Trade Deadline and Philadelphia decides Hayes isn’t a part of the rebuild, a buyout could take place in the offseason. Elliotte Friedman also spoke at length following the healthy scratch about Hayes’ situation in Philadelphia on his December 19th, 2022 edition of “32 Thoughts.”

March 3rd is rapidly approaching, and it’ll be interesting to keep a beat on Hayes’ NHL Trade Deadline fate.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)