Hayes will go to the Blues for a 2024 sixth-round pick. As part of the deal, the Flyers will retain 50% of Hayes' $7.142 million cap hit. CapFriendly projects that the Blues now have $3.935 million in available cap space while the Flyers have $10.3 million in cap space.
It's a trade that achieves a number of items for two teams that appear to be trending in different directions.
Getting Hayes gives the Blues top-six center who could help them return to the playoffs after they finished 37-38-7 and were 14 points adrift of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. They are also adding a 6-foot-5 forward who just arguably had the strongest season of his career while playing for a Flyers team that struggled to score.
Hayes, 31, eclipsed the 50-point mark for the second time in his career, having last done it during the 2018-19 season when he scored 19 goals and 55 points while playing for the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets.
Hayes, who just finished his fourth season in Philadelphia, scored 18 goals and 54 points for the Flyers. While Hayes fell a point shy of tying his career high, he was the second-leading scorer on a team that struggled to score, as evidenced by the fact they finished 29th in goals per game.
It's also possible that Hayes could play a role in both special teams units. Hayes scored six power-play goals and 16 points on the extra-skater advantage this season, which could prove useful to a Blues' unit that finished 22nd on the power play with a 19.3 success rate. And while his penalty-killing minutes diminished in each season with the Flyers, he could be another option the Blues use to boost a kill that was 30th out of 32 teams with a 72.4% success rate.
Perhaps the biggest value Hayes provides is that the Blues were able to land a top-six center at a reduced salary without having to give up one of their three first-round picks in the NHL draft Wednesday.
As for the Flyers, it's the latest move in a rebuild marked by change. It began when the club promoted former star Danny Briere from assistant to the general manager to GM. The Flyers also hired another familiar face in Keith Jones, who is leaving the TNT broadcast to serve as president of hockey operations.
Briere has had an active offseason for a franchise that missed the playoffs for a third straight season after finishing 31-38-13 and 17 points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Now that they have traded Hayes, the Flyers were able to shed cap space while also getting younger. Hayes' departure leaves Cam Atkinson, Sean Couturier, Nicolas Deslauriers and Nick Seeler as the players older than 30 who remain under contract as veteran winger James van Riemsdyk is a pending unrestricted free agent.