The Philadelphia Flyers traded for former Boston College star Kevin Hayes last night during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, sending a fifth round pick in the upcoming draft to the Winnipeg Jets in the process. Hayes will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but in making this trade, the Flyers have acquired exclusive negotiating rights with the 27-year-old, giving them the chance to lock him up before his free agency kicks in.
Hayes is coming off a career best year that saw him split time between the New York Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets. He broke 50 points for the first time in his career, putting up 19 goals and 36 assists for 55 points in 71 games. He added two more goals and another assist in a first round playoff lost to the St. Louis Blues.
Hayes was traded from the Rangers to the Jets at the trade deadline, a move that always figured to be a rental for Winnipeg. This trade makes some sense for both teams, as the Flyers badly need a middle six center and will get an early shot at one of the better centers on the market, while Winnipeg gets an asset for a player who would have been lost for nothing in just a few weeks. Whether or not the Flyers and Hayes are able to come to terms before he hits the open market remains to be seen.
Kevin Hayes played four seasons at Boston College from 2010-2014 and was part of the 2012 National Championship team. As a senior, he played on a line with Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau and put up 65 points in 40 games on a team that made a run to the Frozen Four. Before being traded to Winnipeg this past season, he played his entire professional career for the New York Rangers, including four seasons under recently hired Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault.