The Philadelphia Flyers are getting back a huge piece of their lineup, activating Kevin Hayes off injured reserve. To make room on the roster, the team has loaned Nick Seeler to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. They also lost Nicolas Aube-Kubel on waivers today when the Colorado Avalanche claimed him. Ryan Ellis is also expected to return to the lineup tonight for the Flyers as they approach full strength.
In June, Hayes, 29, underwent core muscle surgery and was originally given a six-to-eight week timeline for recovery. That would have put him well ahead of schedule for the start of the season, but in September he was back under the knife for another abdominal procedure. Now trying to jump on a moving train, the Flyers will have to hope Hayes can get up to speed quickly and get back to his productive self.
After signing a massive seven-year, $50MM contract with the Flyers in 2019, Hayes registered 23 goals and 41 games in 69 games, adding a considerable presence with the man-advantage and shorthanded. Last season those numbers dropped to 12 goals and 31 points in 55 games, but he was still as important as ever to the Philadelphia attack. Now, after several major roster changes in the offseason, the Flyers are 7-3-2 and in the thick of the Metropolitan Division playoff race.
Even if you aren’t a Philadelphia fan, it’s hard not to root for Hayes’ success this season. Not only did he deal with multiple offseason surgeries, but also the tragic loss of his brother, former NHL forward Jimmy Hayes. A return to the ice will certainly be an emotional experience for the veteran center, and one that will have a little more impact on hockey fans all over the world.