The St. Louis Blues were at the forefront of trade talks almost all offseason long but only came away with one player. Kevin Hayes joins the team after spending the last four years in Philadelphia, but what can we expect from the 31-year-old as a Blue?
Hayes’ time as a Flyer was inconsistent at best, though there was more to examine with his situation that lay beyond the box score. He openly fell out of favor with his head coach in Philly, causing him to lose valuable playing time.
In 253 games with the Flyers, Hayes recorded 63 goals, 94 points, and 157 points. From a player who signed a seven-year, $50 million contract after five seasons with the New York Rangers, he didn’t exactly live up to expectations.
Enter the St. Louis Blues. In a trade that was thought to involve Torey Krug and Travis Sandheim, general manager Doug Armstrong acquired Hayes in a trade on June 27 in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick. Meanwhile, the Flyers are retaining 50 percent of his salary.
The nine-year NHL veteran struggled with injuries through his first three seasons with the Flyers. He played in 65 games in his first season and didn’t play more than 55 games until his final season last year, when he appeared in all but one game for Philadelphia.
Hayes appears to be starting on the Blues’ third forward line to begin the year. He will center wingers Jakub Vrana and Sammy Blais, which could feature some heavy hitters along with Vrana’s skill and Hayes’s occasional flair.
St. Louis will benefit from having someone with the experience of Hayes to play with some of the younger players like Jake Neighbours. He scored 18 goals last season and added 36 assists.
Adding another 20-goal scorer should lift the Blues to the depth that the team had when seemingly every player scored 20 goals in a season. If the Blues have defensive struggles again this season, Hayes’ goal-scoring ability will be a welcome addition.
Unless head coach Craig Berube moves Hayes to the wing, he is likely destined to anchor center on the team’s third line for most of the year. The St. Louis Blues have great forward depth, and Hayes adds to that in a big way.