Kevin Hayes is going to be a healthy scratch against his former team, the New York Rangers, tonight. Coach Tortorella met with the media today and discussed the different roster moves happening with this team. From Lukas Sedlak going back home to the Czech Republic for personal matters to Cam Atkinson going back on the IR, this season has been weird from the jump.
This same tweet has been posted by different members of the media in the hockey community since Torts announced that Hayes was sitting tonight. As for his reasoning, I think it is a good one. Especially when it is one of your leaders on this team.
While the fans and this team would love to win back-to-back games this season, that is not what is on Torts’ agenda. Playing his way and getting this team to all push in the same direction is absolutely key for this team to begin winning hockey games at a more consistent level. Many are baffled by this move, but offense isn’t the only part of this game that needs to be focused on.
Kevin Hayes needs to step up his game on the Philadelphia Flyers
As the number 1 center currently, Hayes needs to be able to play a 200-foot game. While he does not need to play at a Selke-winning level of shutdown play on the defensive end, he does need to be smarter. Scoring goals and helping create for the offense is what you do as the center but being moved to the wing obviously tells you that are not doing enough at that center position.
Noah Cates was moved to the Center position between Hayes and Konecny and has been fantastic for them. Great forechecking ability, controlling the pace of the game by pushing the puck north, backchecking, helping your defense control the breakouts from the opposing team, and the biggest thing, limiting your turnovers.
Cates has done this and more which is why Torts has nothing but praise for him, but Torts was also very excited about coaching Kevin Hayes and only wants to find that next level that he knows he has.
This was almost a month ago and it seems like Hayes just hasn’t wanted to push himself defensively. Both of these guys were excited to be on the same team with each other and it just seems like the partnership has not been going the way they would like it to.
Everyone thought Torts was going to bring the best out of Hayes and while his production has been there this season offensively, it is not enough to cut it these days. With 9 goals and 20 assists, Hayes has 29 points in 30 games. Hayes also is a minus 12 with 15 giveaways which is pretty high for him at this point of the season compared to his play since he arrived in Philadelphia.
While the team controls the puck much more when Hayes is on the ice, the goalies’ save percentage is atrocious at .863%. Hayes also started only 35% of his shifts in the defensive end while 65% was in the offensive end. These stats tell you just how much Torts stopped trusting Hayes on the defensive end of the ice to take faceoffs or to be hemmed in if it happens off a faceoff.
Whatever the future holds for Kevin Hayes, it might not be here in Philadelphia. Whether Hayes is traded for picks, prospects, or merely just bought out. His current standings in Philly with Torts is thin and if he wants to continue to play in the Orange and Black, then he needs to pick himself up and bring his lunch pail helmet and get back to the grind.