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June 22, 2023

Flyers GM Danny Brière says 'nothing has really changed' on Kevin Hayes' status

It's been clear for a while that both Hayes and the Flyers want to move on, but with the NHL Draft approaching, no trade has been facilitated yet.

The writing is on the wall for Kevin Hayes. It's been there for months. 

He's been realistic about it and the Flyers haven't exactly been subtle about it either. With the organization fully committed to a rebuild, the 31-year old is no longer a fit for the current plans, and it's been known for a while now that the Flyers are actively seeking a trade in order to allow both to move on. 

But that's the thing, it's been known for a while now that the Flyers want to move on, which makes dealing that steep $7.1 million cap hit – even after what was a career-best season in points for Hayes – no easy task, and that's even if the Flyers were to retain salary in a potential trade, which they will more than likely have to do if one were to happen. 

During his exit interview back in April, Hayes said he was sure that he, along with everyone else, would find out his fate at the draft. 

We're less than a week out from it now, and his status...

"Nothing has really changed on that," Flyers GM Danny Brière said during his pre-draft media availability on Thursday. "We still value Kevin. We still think he can help. It's tough to tell at this point. Big 6-foot-5 centermen, they're not easy to find, and it's not like free agency is really deep there with centermen. So to replace him would be tough as well, so right now my stance hasn't changed on that."

But things can always change quick, especially once all 32 teams are on the floor down in Nashville Wednesday night. 

The Flyers have been an active team in the NHL rumor mill as the draft draws closer. 

On Wednesday, word got around via The Fourth Period that Detroit is looking for a goal scorer to add to its top six and did have discussions with the Flyers about Travis Konecny. Later that day, league insider Elliotte Friedman acknowledged that the Red Wings would be a good fit as a trade partner on the latest 32 Thought podcast and also shared that there's a belief among a couple of teams that the Flyers were going to end up with one more first-round pick than they already have.

Brière on Thursday didn't want to get hopes up too much at the prospect of it, but at the same time, he didn't shut the idea down entirely of getting one more on top of No. 7 and No. 22 overall.

"If someone wants to give us another pick, we'd take it – gladly take it," he said in response to the rumors. "We're having discussions with different teams. I'd probably say it's not likely, but we're definitely looking at every avenue and I would love to give another jolt to our amateur scouts to dive even deeper into our list.

"We're trying, no doubt about it, but you need a dancing partner as well. I don't know if it's realistic."

He'd love for any chance to add picks in between the massive break the Flyers have after pick No. 22 in the first through pick No. 87 in the third as well. They have 10 selections in total heading into the draft as of Thursday afternoon, but because of former GM Chuck Fletcher's expensive trades before in trying to keep the team competitive over the past couple of years, the Flyers were left without any second-round picks through 2025 once he was fired

Brière was able to recoup a couple of them in 2024 with the Ivan Provorov trade, but if they can swing one or two more for this year by next week?

"We'd like to. That's not a secret," Brière said. "We'd like to add, and like [assistant GM Brent Flahr] said, there's some depth in this draft. So if we have the chance, yes, we would like to add in that gap between 22 and 87."

The Flyers' current run of 2023 draft picks:

• Round 1 – No. 7

• Round 1 – No. 22 (from CBJ) 

• Round 3 – No. 87  (from NYR) 

• Round 3 – No. 95 (from FLA) 

• Round 4 – No. 103

• Round 4 – No. 120 (from EDM) 

• Round 5 – No. 135

• Round 6 – No. 167

• Round 6 – No. 172 (from OTT) 

• Round 7 – No. 199

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