A lot of news about the Flyers this past weekend is about the fallout from the failure to make any major trade deadline deals. There are a lot of fans that are upset and outraged and many are calling for general manager Chuck Fletcher to be relieved of his duties. Outside of some minor deals, only a rumored deal to Detroit involving James van Riemsdyk was mentioned. Until now.
A rumor has suggested that Fletcher and the Columbus Blue Jackets kicked the can about Kevin Hayes. No details have been given. There is nothing that has shed light on any details of players, prospects, or picks to be moved. From what it sounds like, it was just a, “Hey…you interested?” kind of talk. And it seems that both sides are willing to talk.
Which brings us to the end of the season. While Fletcher really dropped the ball on the trade deadline, some analysts have suggested that the Flyers could be in good position to make deals near the start of free agency/NHL draft during the summer. Once it is certain where the salary cap will go, teams will have a better idea of how much they can spend. Perhaps teams would take on some of the bloated contracts that the Flyers have right now.
So…the Blue Jackets? Let’s delve into this one.
The Blue Jackets did make a deadline deal. They traded former Flyer great Jakub Voracek and a sixth rounder to the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona takes on his contract so they can be salary floor compliant. In return, CBJ picked up career backup Jon Gilles. Voracek, who’s career is in doubt after some concussion problems, joins Shea Weber and Bryan Little as contracts on the books, but for players that won’t play.
With Voracek’s contract gone, that is $7.8 million left for the Blue Jackets to spend. They will have money to go out and get free agents, although a lot of top players may not choose to go to a last place team. However, they may be more attractive with Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Laine, and Hayes together.
Another thing about this move that makes this make a lot of sense is that Hayes and Gaudreau played hockey together at Boston College. In 2013-14, their final year at BC, Hayes had a career year, scoring 27 goals and 38 assists with Gaudreau had 36 goals with 44 assists; earning him the Hobey Baker Award, the NCAA’s top hockey award.
A reunion of Hayes and Gaudreau does make sense. Rumors of Hayes being moved have been happening since he was benched. Some writers have written about animosity between him and Coach John Tortorella. But yet Hayes has played better after the benching. Both Hayes and Torts claims that there is no problem.
Either way, it is something to keep an eye on as things develop. Maybe it was just Columbus calling to see what’s up. Maybe the Flyers were doing the same. Maybe nothing will come of this. Nobody knows. But still, it’s a deal that makes sense for both teams. Columbus would have space opened up and the Flyers could move a contract. We’ll have to wait and watch. It may be nothing, but sometimes where there is smoke, there is fire.