Kevin Hayes traded from the Flyers to the Blues for a 6th-round pick in 2024

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 6: Kevin Hayes #13 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on April 6, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues have acquired center Kevin Hayes from the Philadelphia Flyers for a sixth-round pick in the 2024 draft.

The teams announced the trade Tuesday, the day before the first round of the draft. The Flyers are retaining half of Hayes’ $7.14 million salary cap hit for the next three years.

Hayes gives the retooling Blues depth down the middle as they try to return to the playoffs next season. The 31-year-old is a veteran of nearly 700 NHL games and brings more winning experience to a team that is four seasons removed from winning the Stanley Cup.

Hayes signed a $50 million, seven-year contract with the Flyers in 2019 and became an instant fan favorite over his four seasons. He scored 23 goals in his first season with the Flyers and was an All-Star this past season, when he fell one shy of his career high with 54 points.

Hayes, though, had his battles with Flyers coach John Tortorella. Hayes was a healthy scratch for one game and was benched multiple times during others because Tortorella didn’t like the level of play from the 10-year veteran.

Hayes also was expendable because the Flyers are under new management led by general manager Danny Briere and are in the midst of a rebuilding process. Hayes joined veteran defenseman Ivan Provorov as expensive vets no longer necessary for a franchise taking the long view toward success.

"It’s weird, had almost a career year and I was an All-Star but never really felt like that throughout the whole season, to be honest," Hayes said in April.

Hayes was slowed at times by injuries but never lost support from Philly fans. One local brewery even named a beer "Big Hayes-Y 13" in honor of Hayes. He earned league-wide praise for the way he played through the grief following the death of his brother, former NHL player Jimmy Hayes, before the 2021 season.

Hayes has 155 goals and 386 points over a career that included stints with the New York Rangers, Toronto and Winnipeg.