Just two days after trading Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Philadelphia Flyers are reportedly engaging in trade talks with Columbus again, this time involving forward Kevin Hayes.
Anthony Di Marco of The Fourth Period reported early Thursday afternoon that the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets were having discussions about a potential trade involving Kevin Hayes, and that these talks began before Thursday. One obstacle for any prospective trade is Hayes’ salary. Hayes has three years left on his contract with a cap hit ever-so-slightly above $7.1 million in each of those three years. The main talking point between the Flyers and Blue Jackets was the amount of salary the Flyers might retain.
The Columbus Blue Jackets currently have $12.1 million in cap space with the core of their roster signed through the 2023-24 season, so fitting Kevin Hayes and his contract doesn’t seem to be a problem. However, some of their younger pieces, like Kent Johnson, Kirill Marchenko, Nick Blankenburg, Jake Bean, Cole Sillinger, and Alexandre Texier, are all due for new contracts next offseason. Center Jack Roslovic will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and will make $4 million this season, so it’s reasonable to assume the Blue Jackets will want Hayes’ salary down closer to that number. For the Blue Jackets to achieve this, the Philadelphia Flyers would need to eat close to the maximum 50 percent allowed on retained salaries. It’s also unclear whether or not the Blue Jackets are on Hayes’ 12-team no-trade list. In any case, with management’s commitment to John Tortorella after the debacle(s) with Hayes, the latter’s departure is virtually guaranteed.
As for a potential return, there’s basically a zero percent chance the Columbus Blue Jackets would send the third-overall pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for this kind of trade, especially with Kevin Hayes having just turned 31. However, the Blue Jackets have both their second and third-round picks in this year’s draft. It could also be possible that trade interest for Hayes sparks up a bidding war. The Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins might be willing to inquire about Hayes, as the futures of veterans like Jordan Staal, Paul Stastny, David Krejci, and Patrice Bergeron are all unclear.
Whatever the return might be, Kevin Hayes won’t be the last Philadelphia Flyer to leave for greener pastures this summer. It’s only the first week of June and teams are keeping GM Daniel Briere very busy so far.