The Flyers made some good decisions in the 2019-20 offseason. Whether it was resigning players like Provorov and Konecny, or hiring a new head coach in Alain Vigneault, the Flyers were very smart last offseason. But arguably the best pickup by the Flyers was acquiring forward Kevin Hayes. At the time, Hayes was coming off a one year contract that he started with the Rangers but was traded and finished with the Jets. Hayes was an American born hockey player who grew up playing hockey. Hayes would be drafted in the first round by the Blackhawks, but would opt to go play hockey for Boston College in 2010. In 2014, Hayes would sign with the New York Rangers ans go on and record a total of 216 points with them. In early 2019, Hayes would be traded to the Winnipeg Jets and play out the rest of his contract there. On June 3rd, 2019, the Jets would trade the negotiating rights of Kevin Hayes to the Flyers for a 5th round draft pick. And on June 19th, Hayes would sign a 7 year, $50 million contract (7.14 AAV) with the Flyers. Early after he signed however, fans would criticize his contract and call him “overpaid”. These comments would turn out to be false, as Hayes became a fan favorite in Philadelphia. Now that we established who Hayes is, let’s get into Hayes’ impact on the team.
Physical Playing Style: “Chirp“ is a word used by hockey players meaning, trash talk, and let me tell you, Kevin Hayes chirps. Back when Hayes played for the Rangers, fans and player alike would hate to have to play against Hayes because he was physical and was just a downright nuisance on the ice. He loved to trash talk and get up in opposing players faces. Those skills definitely help the Flyers and it’s good to see that Hayes is in Philly and not on another team. He’s a very exciting player to watch and Philly fans love what he does. He’ll knock guys off the puck with his big build and excite his teammates with an occasional big hit. He’s a physical presence and a funny trash talker to watch.
Locker Room Presence: Hayes might not be the best player on the ice, but his locker room presence can boost a players confidence and let them play well and get pumped up. Hayes just about has a nickname for every guy on the Flyers, some of the best including, Tiki Bar (Travis Konecny), The Goblin (James Van Riemsdyk), and the classic, Cahtah Haht (Carter Hart). Hayes’ locker room presence is an overlooked asset to the Flyers success this year.
Off-Ice Well-Meaning Shenanigans: The last topic is Hayes’ off ice happenings. Whether he’s interacting with his “roommate”, Gritty or appearing on TSN or other shows like that, Hayes is a fan favorite in Philly.
Kevin Hayes was doubted at the start of his contract but as play started, he quickly became a fan favorite here. Hopefully now that we having him, Hayes can keep up what he’s doing and bring the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia very soon!