The Philadelphia Flyers made their first significant offseason move when it comes to player personnel on Tuesday when they acquired the rights to forward Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets. An unrestricted free agent on July 1 if Hayes cannot come to a contract agreement with the Flyers by then, the native of Dorchester, MA was traded for a fifth round draft pick in the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
This past season with the Jets and New York Rangers, Hayes had 19 goals and 36 assists for 55 points in 71 games. He was a -2 with 12 penalty minutes, 11 power play points, three shorthanded points, two game winning goals, 156 shots on goal, 483 faceoff wins, 15 blocked shots, 58 hits, 61 takeaways and 60 giveaways. Hayes posted career highs in assists, points, power play points and takeaways.
Hayes will be reunited with Alain Vigneault. The veteran bench boss who joined the Flyers as their head coach on April 15, coached Hayes for four NHL seasons from 2014 to 2018.
Where Hayes will be an asset to the Flyers is that he is very versatile. He can play right wing and center. During his career, Hayes has had 4120 faceoff draws.
It will now be interesting to see if Hayes will earn more or less than the $5.175 million he earned this past season with the Jets and Rangers. One area of concern might be his drop in defensive zone coverage. On a very good Jets team this past season Hayes was a -3 in 20 regular season games.
Expect the attempt to sign Hayes be the first of many moves Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher tries to make in an attempt to improve the Flyers between now and October. Philadelphia has not won a playoff series since 2012 and over the last seven seasons, has missed the playoffs on four occasions.
The Flyers currently have seven signed forwards on their active roster heading into 2019-2020. They are Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, Michael Raffl, Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick.