Kevin Hayes time with the Flyers could be up after this season. With rumors of Carolina, Columbus and a few other suitors calling Chuck Fletcher at the deadline, it only becomes a matter of when and not if. While Hayes is a great locker room guy and brings some personality to this team, his style of play just doesn’t fit into the blueprint set forth by John Tortorella.
His overall up and down play just isn’t worth the money he is making. While he had a different role on Alain Vigneault’s team, his role is bigger and more important under John Tortorella, and he just hasn’t been able to answer the bell. While I understand that Hayes had a big loss last season and dealt with injuries, but this season, he just hasn’t been able to play a consistent style of play to be a game changer.
Moving the terrible 7M AAV needs to go. Hayes is nowhere near worth this amount of money and him eating cap space that could be used for team dynamic changing players needs to be addressed. I understand teams not wanting to move certain pieces or assets at this time, especially for a guy with the amount of AAV that Hayes has, but in the off-season, it becomes a much easier move.
At this point, if I were Chuck Fletcher, I would take a few draft picks and maybe a prospect for Hayes. I would just want that contract off the books. Depending on the team and their cap situation, you may be able to get a good expiring contract of a young player or a prospect who needs a new home like Owen Tippett did.
Even if Kevin Hayes stays in the Eastern Conference or even in the Metropolitan Division, it won’t matter for the Flyers. By the time this team is ready to be close to be a contender, it most likely will be three years down the line and who knows if Kevin Hayes is still effective at 33.
The other option would be to buy him out of the contract. It would be a cap hit of a little over 1.5M AAV until 2029-2030. Either way, Kevin Hayes has to go and this team needs to continue to get younger and get players who Torts can mold into the way he would like them to play.