Courtesy of Point Park University

Flyers sign forward Hayes to massive deal


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Kevin Hayes. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Kevin Hayes got paid. A lot.

The Flyers locked up Hayes, a center and one of the biggest targets from last season's trade deadline, to a seven-year deal worth $50 million. The contract has an average annual value of $7.14 million. That makes him the third highest-paid Flyer, after Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

Hayes is 27 years old and will be 34 when the contract expires. His previous contract had an average annual value of $5.175 million.

Hayes played for the Rangers for the first four and a half years of his career. He was traded to the Jets on Feb. 25. for Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick in 2019. With Hayes set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Flyers acquired Hayes from the Jets in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick in order to negotiate a new contract with him before the opening of free agency on July 1.

Hayes had 14 goals and 28 assists in 51 games with the Rangers last season, and five goals and eight assists in 20 games with the Jets. He scored one goal two goals and one assist in six playoff games as the Jets were eliminated in the first round.

The signing reunites Hayes with Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault, who coached Hayes in New York. Hayes has four goals and five assists in 17 career games against the Penguins during his time with the Rangers.

Early reactions to the deal on Twitter weren't great:

... or they were positive, depending on the perspective:

The Flyers have $22.9 million in projected cap space for next season with eight forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders under contract. The deal brings the Flyers' total spending to $60.1 million, which likely will just put them over the projected salary cap floor for 2019-20.

Hayes' older brother, Jimmy, has 334 games of NHL experience and played for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season.

"It's really cool to have a younger brother with that much success," Jimmy told me. "He's really become an elite NHL player, it's cool to watch him and have his name be one of the biggest free agents on the market. Especially this year, he's just a kid that continues to impress people."

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