Philadelphia Flyers: What Could A Kevin Hayes Contract Look Like?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Rangers C Kevin Hayes (13) talks with D Adam McQuaid (54) between plays in the first period during the Preseason game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers on September 27, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Rangers C Kevin Hayes (13) talks with D Adam McQuaid (54) between plays in the first period during the Preseason game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers on September 27, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher will have until July 1st to sign the veteran forward before he hits the Free Agent market.

If you were too busy watching Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals on Monday evening and missed the news, the Philadelphia Flyers acquired the rights to forward Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2019 Fifth Round Pick. This move will give Fletcher the opportunity to talk numbers and try to get a deal done with Hayes and his agent before any other team prior to the July 1st Free Agency start date. So, with the trade finalized and the month of June already in its’ fourth day, what could a Hayes contract potentially look like?

I mentioned in this article regarding Brock Nelson’s deal with the New York Islanders that Hayes won’t come cheap. He’s arguably the second-best free agent centerman if he hits the market behind Matt Duchene and his two-way ability would only increase the price tag if other NHL teams can bid for his services. In comparison, Nelson signed a six-year agreement with a six million AAV. Given their similar statistics and Hayes’ more well-rounded skill set, I’d have to think that the former 2010 First Round selection would get either an identical or slightly larger contract with Philadelphia.

If I had to guess, and I’m just speculating here, I think Hayes will receive a six-year deal of his own, with a 6.5 million dollar AAV. The 6’5 center is in his prime, just turning 27-years-old in May, and will be 33 by the end of the term so it shouldn’t come back to bite the club if Hayes’ body can hold up. He doesn’t play too heavy of style, never having a hit total go beyond 60 during his five-year NHL tenure, so it’s possible that he’ll have a long career with the slight lack of physicality in his game.

Hayes’ agent may ask for a no-trade clause (NTC) as well since Nelson received a one in his deal. The Islanders granted him a full NTC in the first two years of the contract and dropped it down to modified for the remaining four and I think if Fletcher does allow Hayes an NTC of his own, it’ll look eerily similar.

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Whatever ends up happening, I expect the Flyers and Hayes to get something done before July. It’s semi-likely that Fletcher overpays to keep Hayes in the city of Philadelphia, but teams always overcompensate upcoming and eventual free agents.