Why the Detroit Red Wings should have some interest in Kevin Hayes

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The Detroit Red Wings may have an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. Recently the Philadelphia Flyers have begun dismantling things under new team president Keith Jones who recently appointed Daniel Briere as the permanent general manager. Briere recently sent defenceman Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-way trade with the Los Angeles Kings.

Following the Provorov deal, the Flyers have engaged in trade talks for goaltender Carter Hart and forward Kevin Hayes. Hayes, 31, had been linked to the Blue Jackets before the Provorov deal with the Flyers, expected to retain some of Hayes’ contract that averages $7.1 million annually over the next three seasons.

Hayes also has a 12-team no-trade list, potentially complicating things for the Red Wings. Hart, 24, once labeled a phenom in goal, has fallen out of favor in Philadelphia. Hart is set to enter the final year of his deal, which averages $3.9 million and will become a restricted free agent at the end of next season.

Ironically, both are areas of need for the Detroit Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings need a capable goaltender to take some of the strenuous workload off starter Ville Husso next season. Hart still has an abundance of potential and posted excellent numbers last season for a poor team. Hart produced a 22-23-10 record with a 2.94 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. In comparison, Husso guided the Red Wings to a 26-22-7 record while maintaining a save percentage of .896 and a 3.11 goals-against average.

The Detroit Red Wings need to bridge the gap between now and when Sebastian Cossa, Detroit’s top goaltending prospect, is ready to make an impact at the NHL level. While pairing Hart with Husso would benefit the Detroit Red Wings next season, it will be difficult to give up the type of assets needed to land Hart in a trade unless he will be considered the long-term answer in goal. Hart is expected to land a substantial raise on a long-term deal, and with Husso locked up through 2025, the Red Wings seem better off keeping their trade capital and investing it elsewhere.

The Detroit Red Wings need to entertain the idea of adding Kevin Hayes.

During Detroit’s exit interviews, Yzerman, head coach Derek Lalonde, and team captain Dylan Larkin all expressed the same sentiment that the organization needs to get tougher this off-season. Yzerman also mentioned that getting tougher doesn’t necessarily mean he is/will sign players that will fight or ‘beat people up.’  As Larkin noted, Detroit wants to get bigger and become tougher to play against, and players that are willing to stick up for each other.

Things changed noticeably for the Detroit Red Wings this past season following the season-ending injury to Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen is a 6-foot-6 forward that really excelled once Lalonde slid him over to the wing. The 24-year-old recorded ten goals and 29 points over 56 games, averaging a touch over 15 minutes per night this past season while maintaining a 47.2% Corsi For and was a plus-2. Skating Rasmussen on a line with Andrew Copp and a player like Kevin Hayes would make for a perfect middle-of-the-lineup unit that would be difficult to play against.

Hayes, a former first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (24th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Level Draft, is a 6-foot-5 center/winger with scoring upside. The veteran forward is coming off a dependable season where he recorded 18 goals and 54 points for the Flyers. Hayes seemed to frustrate Flyers head coach John Tortorella throughout the year, and as Philadelphia heads toward what feels like a full-blown rebuild, Hayes fits the mold of a player that the Detroit Red Wings are looking to add.

Over the past four years with the Flyers, Hayes has totaled 63 goals and 157 points over 253 games. His $7.1 million per season contract is a hefty one to absorb, but if the Flyers are willing to retain 50%, the Detroit Red Wings strongly consider a deal.

The Detroit Red Wings have a plethora of draft capital over the next two seasons, plus some good young prospects they’d likely be willing to move for a proven player like Hayes. Yzerman could look to package up Filip Zadina, who may benefit from a new start, or Joe Veleno with some draft capital to secure Hayes.

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