Kevin Hayes saw reports over the weekend that the Flyers were close to trading him to the Blues. His Philadelphia teammate, defenseman Travis Sanheim, was also reportedly included in the deal.
“I was texting with Sandy a little bit,” Hayes said. The Athletic on tuesday. “I heard some rumors.
League officials said the trade didn’t go through because the Blues were planning to send defenseman Tory Krug to the Flyers along with this year’s first-round pick in return. But Krug, who signed a seven-year, $45.5 million free agency deal in 2020, has a no-trade clause that they’ll have to waive. It will be the final details of any such trade after the club agrees on the assets.
Hayes, 31, is an avid golfer who spends his summers in his hometown of Boston, so he spent his Saturdays and Sundays on the course thinking he might be a blue player.
“To be honest, it was out of my hands,” Hayes said. “We couldn’t do anything about it.”
But what Hayes had in his hand was a cell phone, so he texted a longtime friend about the situation. That friend was none other than Krug, with whom Hayes had played hockey for the Boston Icemen since he was 10. Krug, a Michigan native, used to fly in and play for teams in the summer. And when Krug was with the Boston Bruins, Kevin’s older brother, Jimmy, was his teammate.
“I’ve known Torey for a long time,” Hayes said. “So I discussed all of this with Torey. I heard the rumors and I texted him and said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?'”
Mr. Hayes declined to disclose the content of the conversation with Mr. Krug, but “that kind of thing is between us,” he said – but he soon realized that we were all in the final. What he had learned was that Mr. Krug had invoked the no-trade clause to block trade. to Philadelphia.
“He earned that right,” Hayes said. “He’s an incredible player and I have no doubts about what he’s doing. Whatever he wants to do, it’s been great for me.”
Four days after Hayes and Sanheim were thought to be headed to St. Louis and Krug to Philadelphia, the Blues settled a small trade on Tuesday to acquire Hayes with a 2024 sixth-round pick. bottom. The Flyers have 50 people. The remaining three years of the contract will reach a percentage of the center’s salary cap, leaving the Blues dealing with an average annual value (AAV) of $3.6 million.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is in Nashville for the NHL Draft on Wednesday and Thursday and is scheduled to speak to the media about the trade on Wednesday afternoon.
This offseason, Armstrong acknowledged that the Blues were in the process of rebuilding, but he also made it clear that he wanted the club to be competitive in the 2023-24 season, and Hayes has contributed to the cause. ing.
The 6-foot-5, 216-pounder scored 18 goals and 54 points in 2022-23 and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. However, he collided with Flyers coach John Tortorella, who converted him to the wing and briefly injured him.
“I played in the All-Star Game, but there were times when I didn’t feel like I was helping the team,” Hayes said. “They were sort of restructuring and they thought I was part of it, but they didn’t see me as part of it. I lost confidence in my game. Maybe the coaches lost confidence, or maybe they just didn’t think I could help their team as much as I thought. .”
“I knew it was traded all summer. No one told me that, but I can read the writing on the wall.”
Hayes said he was excited when speculation began a few days ago about St. Louis because former Blues player and current Blues college scout Keith Tkachuk was a cousin by his mother, Scherrer Hayes.
“I feel like saying every player was a fan of the team they were trading to, and it’s true,” Hayes said. “I grew up watching Keith when he was in the Coyotes and Blues. Every time they came to town, I would leave school and go to their practice.”
But while Hayes waited until Sunday and then Monday for a trade to go through, Hayes and his agent, Bob Murray, who was also Tkachuk’s agent during his playing days, had high hopes. was not
“We really didn’t know,” Murray said. “Most of the information we got was from the media. There is also the fear of not being there.
“But St. Louis seemed to want Kevin, and Philadelphia was going to do what it took to make it happen. It was honest and candid and it was great. We were just waiting and hoping it would be done.
It wasn’t until late Monday night that Hayes had heard rumors of a deal being reached on Tuesday.
He was playing golf again on Tuesday and told his foursome they needed to be near his cell phone.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I have to keep the ringer ringing loud,'” Hayes said. “But in the family group[text]chat, it went, ‘Bing, bing, bing.’ It wasn’t even about hockey. It was about my nine-year-old niece’s soccer game.” I was like, ‘I’m going to turn it off. So I put it on silent mode and literally 5 minutes later when I looked down I had 3 missed calls from Danny B and 2 from my agent.
“It’s strange that I read about a deal that didn’t happen and then days later it’s a different type of deal. Everything was released a few days ago, but yeah, it finally made it to St. Louis.” is very exciting.”
After hearing from Briere, Hayes received a call from Armstrong.
“He just said, ‘Look, we didn’t have the year we wanted,'” Hayes said. “He has faith in his fellows in that room. It wasn’t too long ago that they had great success, and he thinks I will be of great help to them. I am very I’m excited, I think I can help the team and I can’t wait to get there.”
Hayes also joked that he owes Blues fans.
In 2019, he was with Winnipeg, facing the Blues in the first round of the postseason. Both games in the best-of-seven series were tied, with the Jets winning 2-0 at home in Game 5. They had a chance to lead 3-0 in the second period, but Hayes inadvertently blocked the goal when he tried to pack the puck past goalkeeper Jordan Binnington, giving the Blues a 3-2 lead. won the victory. .
“I actually threw the puck out of the net into Winnipeg,” Hayes said. “I think[St. Louis]should thank me for that.”
Hayes is familiar with several players on the Blues’ roster, and spoke with some of them on Tuesday. He played with Pavel Buhnevic for the Rangers and knows Nick Reddy.
“They have good young players, they have great older players, great goalkeepers,” he said. “I think I should fit in easily in the group. I have a lot of confidence in my ability to play in this league.I was in the league for a while. I think he’s a player who makes players better, and that’s what I plan to do when I get to St. Louis.”
One player he’s wondering if he’ll be a teammate when he joins the Blues is Krug. The defenseman has invoked a no-trade clause in his contract with the Flyers, but that doesn’t guarantee he won’t move at some point this summer.
“I don’t know what will happen to him from here,” Hayes said. “We hope he’s with us in St. Louis. We’re so happy. I’d love to hang out with him. He’s a great guy.”
(Photo by Kevin Hayes: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)