The Philadelphia Flyers have come to terms with forward Kevin Hayes on a seven-year contract extension worth $50 million, according to Bob McKenzie. The deal will carry an annual cap hit of $7.14 million per season and will keep Hayes with the team through the 2025-26 season.
The Flyers acquired Hayes’ rights from the Winnipeg Jets on June 3 for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The team was keen on locking him up for the long-term to shore up their center depth and they managed to get him under contract prior to free agency on July 1.
This is a substantial contract for Hayes who now sees a sizable bump from his previous one-year contract worth $5.175 million that he signed in New York a season ago.
Hayes scored 19 goals and set a career high with 54 points in 71 games this season, split between the Rangers and the Jets. He was acquired at the deadline by the Jets for a 2019 first-round pick, Brendan Lemieux and a conditional fourth-round pick as Winnipeg looked to make a long playoff run this season.
Unfortunately, the team would be eliminated in the first round. Hayes scored two goals and three points in six playoff games.
At 6 foot 5 and 216 pounds, Hayes brings a rare combination of size and skill to the Flyers as they look to move from bottom-of-the-pack to playoff contenders. With a new general manager and coach in the fold and a clear motive to compete rather than continue this rebuild, Hayes is now primed to be at the forefront of the team’s game plan each and every night.
Flyers Making Moves This Offseason
This isn’t the only move the Flyers have taken care of in recent days as they also traded Radko Gudas to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Matt Niskanen. With Niskanen, the Flyers have a more legitimate offensive option who can also quarterback their power play.
Another move the Flyers took care of Tuesday was the acquisition of Justin Braun from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 third-round pick.
Related: Flyers Acquire Braun From Sharks
The Flyers are shoring up their ranks for new head coach Alain Vigneault to comfortable blend in young players with established veterans. Hayes and Vigneault are also familiar with each other first four years of Hayes’ career with the Rangers.
That familiarity could be helpful to both parties as they look to do in Philadelphia what they were both ultimately unable to do in New York – win a Stanley Cup.
The contract may seem a bit excessive for someone who’s never recorded more than 54 points or 25 goals in a single season, but the Flyers obviously feel that the 27-year-old Hayes can help take them to the next level. Whether or not this move pays off is yet to be seen.