NHL.com examines the fantasy hockey value of center Kevin Hayes with the Philadelphia Flyers and projects his statistics for 2019-20. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.
The Philadelphia Flyers acquired center Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets on June 3 and signed him to a seven-year contract Wednesday, boosting their depth at the position for next season.
The Flyers, who already have valuable center Sean Couturier, elite forward Claude Giroux and young option Nolan Patrick at the position, have 11 players in NHL.com's fantasy top 250, the most among Metropolitan Division teams.
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Hayes, 27, combined for NHL career highs in assists (36), points (55) and power-play points (11) in his contract year with the Jets and New York Rangers. Hayes had 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 20 regular-season games and three points (two goals, one assist) in six postseason games for the Jets on a line with mostly valuable wing Patrik Laine after being acquired prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25.
The 6-foot-5, 216-pound center is familiar with new Flyers coach Alain Vigneault from their time with the Rangers and could form chemistry with goal-scoring left wing James van Riemsdyk and/or valuable right wing Jakub Voracek in a secondary role. Van Riemsdyk ranks third in the NHL in goals per 60 minutes (1.64) behind elite forwards Alex Ovechkin and Auston Matthews (1.79) over the past two seasons combined, which would be valuable fantasy exposure for Hayes. Voracek ranks 18th in the NHL in scoring (348 points in 397 games) since 2014-15.
He's also likely to play on the second power-play unit with Patrick, forwards Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, defensemen Ivan Provorov and/or Travis Sanheim. The addition of Hayes could negatively affect Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, who has not been fantasy-relevant in his first two seasons and could be bumped out of the top six.
Hayes has a chance to take a step further offensively next season if he earns stable lineup placement for the Flyers under Vigneault. Hayes's ceiling would be not only playing on the second line but also the first power play after the departure of wing Wayne Simmonds, spots where he could total 60-65 points. It's worth noting Hayes averaged a NHL career-high 19:27 in 51 regular-season games with the Rangers this season but dropped to 15:17 in 20 games with the Jets.
Hayes plays the most popular fantasy position for the Flyers, who missed the postseason, and does not cover hits (0.7 per game in NHL career), so fantasy owners can target him in the final rounds of fantasy drafts and reap the rewards if he builds upon his recent success.
Projection: 75 games, 18 goals, 39 assists, 57 points, plus-7, 15 PPP, 180 SOG, 60 hits
Draft range in 12-team fantasy league: Rounds 15 to 16 (picks 169-192)
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