June 19: The contract has been officially announced by the Flyers, matching the financial details originally reported. GM Chuck Fletcher released this statement:
We are very happy to sign Kevin to a long term contract. He plays a smart, two-way game and is just entering the prime of his career. Kevin will add size and skill to our line-up.
The deal will include a no-movement clause for the first three years and a 12-team no-trade clause the remaining four.
Per CapFriendly, the contract breaks down as follows:
2019-20: $4MM base salary, $5MM signing bonus
2020-21: $3.75MM base salary, $3.75MM signing bonus
2021-22: $9MM base salary
2022-23: $3.75MM base salary, $3.75MM signing bonus
2023-24: $6.5MM base salary
2024-25: $4MM base salary, $1.25MM signing bonus
2025-26: $4MM base salary, $1.25MM signing bonus
June 18: As soon as the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Kevin Hayes’ negotiating rights from the Winnipeg Jets, they became the favorites to sign the two-way center. However, talks had not been going as expected until a recent report that progress was finally being made toward a contract resolution. Now, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that a deal is imminent. He expects the contract to be worth $50MM over seven years.
Hayes’ reported $7.14MM AAV, a raise of more than $2MM over his latest contract, puts him in the top 20 among NHL centers and continues an off-season that appears to be a players’ market. For a player with just five seasons of pro experience who has averaged less than 20 goals and 50 points per year, this may seem like a high cap number. While centers are paid a premium and Hayes’ defensive effectiveness needs to be taken into account, it is likely that some will be skeptical of this deal. Nevertheless, the Flyers did what they needed to to lock up a top young free agent and fill a major need down the middle. Now the team must hope that Hayes can continue on his upward trajectory set by a career-high 55 points this past season.
Hayes joins Erik Karlsson and Jeff Skinner as top impending free agents that have now re-signed for more than many expected. In comparison, this contract makes the New York Islanders’ extensions of Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle look very team-friendly, but may make extending Anders Lee more difficult. Besides Hayes, the major beneficiary of this contract is Matt Duchene, who is considered the top free agent center and has a strong argument to make substantially more than Hayes. Lee can also fairly make that case. Marcus Johansson and Gustav Nyquist additionally stand to benefit, as they have similar per-game numbers to Hayes, albeit are older and not natural centers.
Hayes now joins fellow new Flyers Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen on a re-tooled roster that has undoubtedly gained the imprint of new GM Chuck Fletcher. And it’s only June. Where else Philadelphia goes this summer remains to be seen, but the team will certainly have a different look when they take the ice next season.