Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher threw down his first gauntlet of the offseason Monday night as the club acquired center Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the upcoming 2019 NHL draft.
“By gaining the rights to Kevin at this time, it provides us with an opportunity to negotiate with him prior to July 1 when he is due to become an unrestricted free agent,” Fletcher said.
Hayes, 27, split time between the New York Rangers and Jets last season. He appeared in 71 games, posting a career-high 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists).
He also added two goals and an assist in six postseason games for the Jets this season.
Over parts of five NHL seasons, Hayes has recorded 92 goals and 137 assists for 229 points in 381 career games. The Massachusetts native also spent the first four seasons of his career playing for current Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault in New York.
He played his college hockey at Boston College, helping the Eagles win an NCAA championship in 2012. He was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks 24th overall in the 2010 draft.