The Flyers made a trade late that could potentially fill one of their biggest needs. Kevin Hayes  ̶  the former New York Ranger and Winnipeg Jet  ̶  was acquired in exchange for a 5th round pick in this years’ entry draft.

Hayes is a big bodied forward that can be relied on in all situations and can particularly be an asset on the Philadelphia’s middling penalty kill unit. He is undoubtedly a second line center, but if that wasn’t reason enough for the team to take their best shot at signing the 27-year-old, think about the potential of alleviating Nolan Patrick of some responsibility and firmly placing at third line center for the season  ̶  where favorable matchups could be abundant for him. The overall impact of adding another all-around centermen to the lineup behind Sean Couturier could benefit everyone throughout the forward ranks.

The Flyers do hold exclusive negotiating rights, as Charlie O’Connor of the Athletic points out below. This is some of the aggressiveness Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher alluded to during his exit interview at the end of the regular season. It cost the team very little to get a head start on the free agent process and to make an early pitch to Hayes.

Moreover, Hayes has a connection here. He played for Alain Vigneault in New York and that familiarity could help sway Hayes’ decision if he and Vigneault were cordial. Though it was not entirely under Vigneault, Hayes ended his time with the Rangers with 216 points in 361 NHL games.

The real question becomes what kind of contract will Hayes command? New York Islanders’ center Brock Nelson inked a six-year deal worth 6-million per season in May. Hayes and Nelson have had similar careers in terms of production so perhaps that is a starting point.

Featured Image: John Woods/ Winnipeg Free Press
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