Winnipeg Jets center Kevin Hayes played four seasons for new Flyers coach Alain Vigneault when the two were together on the New York Rangers, so it’s easy to see why the Flyers made a trade for Hayes on Monday night.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher rolled the dice a bit by trading with the Jets for Hayes, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the month.
Actually, the risk isn’t all that great, as the Flyers only had to surrender a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft coming up a few weeks from now in Vancouver.
It’s Fletcher’s hope the Flyers can get Hayes’ signature on a contract before free agency opens at the end of this month.
“By gaining the rights to Kevin at this time, it provides us with an opportunity to negotiate with him prior to July 1 when he is due to become an unrestricted free agent,” Fletcher disclosed in a Flyers’ press release on Monday night.
The 27-year-old Hayes split last season between the New York Rangers and the Jets where he posted a career-high 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists) in 71 regular-season games.
He was acquired by the Jets on Feb. 25 at the 2019 NHL trade deadline and recorded 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 20 games, and added three points (2 goals, one assist) in six playoff games for Winnipeg.
Over parts of five seasons in the NHL, he has a career total of 92 goals and 137 assists for 229 points in 381 games to go along with a career plus-minus of plus-28.
A native of Dorchester, Mass., Hayes played four years at Boston College (2010-14), where he helped the Eagles win an NCAA Championship in 2012.
He was originally selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks