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June 27, 2023

Flyers trade Kevin Hayes to Blues for a 2024 sixth-rounder

The Flyers will be retaining 50 percent of Hayes' $7.1 million cap hit over the next three years in the deal.

It may not have turned out as ambitious as originally planned, or rumored, but the Flyers did complete a Kevin Hayes trade with the Blues. 

With Philly retaining 50 percent of his $7.1 million cap hit over the next three seasons, the 31-year old Hayes is off to St. Louis with only a 2024 sixth-round draft pick coming back to the Flyers in return. 

ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes was first to report the deal nearing completion on Tuesday. 

The writing was on the wall for a trade like this for a long time now. 

Even though Hayes turned in a 54-point season and was a point-per-game player for a long stretch at the start of it, head coach John Tortorella was always looking for more out of him but never really got that. And taking away captaincy letters from everyone save for Scott Laughton, kicking Hayes out from center to the wing, moving him up and down the lineup, and benching or scratching him for poor play never really did enough to light a sustained spark. 

So while younger players like Travis Konecny, Owen Tippett, Cam York, and Morgan Frost responded and worked their way up into bigger roles, Hayes' diminished, and once it became clear the Flyers were in need of a rebuild, it also became clear that there was no longer a fit for him on the team.

Both sides needed to move on, even if it required the Flyers to eat a significant chunk of salary for a low return, which was always the long-held expectation in a potential trade.

"I'm turning 31. I picked up the message that was sent months ago," Hayes said in his exit interview back in April. "I'm okay with it. It's their decision. I don't want to say I'm suited for a contender, because I think I'm suited for anyone to be honest. We'll see how that unfolds. 

"Their decisions have probably already been made. We don't know them yet. I'm sure I'll find out around the draft."

A day ahead of it, we do now. 

For a while throughout this past weekend, Travis Sanheim was also rumored to be a part of the trade talks with St. Louis, which would've generated a greater return and moved him out of Philadelphia just before his eight-year, $50 million contract extension – with a full no-trade clause – kicked in. 

Once a promising defenseman within the Flyers' prospect pipeline, the 27-year-old struggled heavily for the better part of Tortorella's first year behind the bench, so this would've been a move to get the Flyers out quickly from that type of long-term commitment as they shift toward building a totally new team for the future. 

Believed to have held up that part of the deal, however, was defenseman Torey Krug, who St. Louis reportedly offered back. The 32-year-old blueliner is heading into year 4 of a seven-year contract at $6.5 million per and with a full no-trade clause. He signed with the Blues in the first place to play for a contender and the Flyers just aren't going to be that for a while, so he used his right to nix that part of the trade. 

If Sanheim is still on the move, which he very well could be now that word is out there, it'll be in a deal involving a different team.

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