Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers are getting things started.
The Flyers have acquired forward Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2019 fifth-round pick, the team announced on Monday night. By trading for Hayes, a pending unrestricted free agent, they can now negotiate with the forward before other teams.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 4, 2019
“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 said via the Flyers.
Hayes is a 27-year-old center who spent most of his career with the New York Rangers. from 2014 to 2018 he compiled 174 points (73 goals, 101 assists) in 310 games across four full seasons. He split the 2018-19 season between the Rangers (14 goals, 28 assists in 51 games) and the Winnipeg Jets (five goals, eight assists in 20 games). He has topped 14 goals in each of his five seasons, hitting a career-high of 25 goals in the 2017-18 campaign.
In those first four seasons, Hayes played for new Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault.
Hayes, if signed, will provide the Flyers with some center depth that they need. He was the second-best free-agent center, behind Matt Duchene, and will slot in as the team’s second-line center.