Tommorow is the day that some hockey fans have been secretly waiting for all summer. Tomorrow is the day that Kevin Hayes becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Hayes was the 24th overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL draft. Since that time he has spent four seasons at Boston College and has solidified himself as a solid prospect. However, this summer the Blackhawks have been unable to get Hayes signed to an entry level contract. Because of the Hawks forward depth and salary cap issues, Hayes has decided to become a free agent. The Blackhawks will receive a 2015 2nd round pick in compensation.
Hayes is 6’4″, 216lbs, left-handed, and is listed in different places as both a center and winger. He has a great mix of size and skill that would be a great fit in the Flyers top six. Aside from the fact that he is just a good hockey player, here are a few reasons why the Flyers need to be in on the Kevin Hayes Sweepstakes.
First, he is 22 years old. He is a year younger than Brayden Schenn and a year older than Sean Couturier. He fits right into the age group of the Flyers forwards and would be another piece to future puzzle that Ron Hextall is constructing.
Second, his contract would be easy to fit. Although a quick glance over at capgeek.com would make it look like the Flyers have no money to spend, that is not the case. The Flyers actually have between $2-2.5 million to spend once Pronger and Timonen go on LTIR. Plus, Hayes’ contract would be an ELC, so he could be provisionally sent to the Phantoms if the Flyers needed to do some salary cap maneuvering.
Third, he would not cost any assets. Everybody knows the Flyers need upgrades on defense and on the left wing. To get a quality young player at either position would typically take multiple assets. With the arrival of Hayes on the UFA market the Flyers could grab a potential top-6 (there is a spot open on Giroux and Voraceks wing that Berube would like to fill with a big guy???) forward without giving up any assets.
Many people see Hayes signing with Florida or Calgary. His older brother Jimmy plays for the Panthers and his former BC linemates (Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold) are both in Calgary’s farm system.
There will be no shortage of teams after the services of Kevin Hayes. But the Flyers need to be leading the pack. He would be a great fit.