Money absolutely talks.
And the Flyers threw a lot of it at Kevin Hayes.
After knowing the organization's interest, touring its facilities and hearing seven years, $50 million, it would have been difficult for Hayes to turn down the Flyers.
But before seeing the dollar signs, Hayes said the Flyers were on his radar.
"As an athlete, July 1 and unrestricted free agency is definitely an intriguing idea," Hayes said Wednesday on a conference call after signing with the Flyers (see story). "When I sat down with my agent, we thought about what type of team I would want to go to and where I would fit into the organization and the team; the Flyers were at the top of the list before I even … once the season ended, they were on a short list of mine that I was intrigued by."
Once the Flyers acquired his rights on June 3, the decision started coming together.
To be able to get traded there from the Jets and get a head start in conversations, I got to know the organization and I got to know some of the players a little bit. It was kind of a no-brainer. Ultimately, my agent and I wanted to go to a great city, a team that can win and a team that can go for the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are one of those teams, we think.
It obviously showed that they wanted me. I think it was a good fit for both sides. What I bring to the table and what they had to offer, it was an easy decision ultimately.
The Flyers made a lot of sense for Hayes.
The 6-foot-5, 216-pound center will play a prominent role and slides nicely into a blend of youth and veterans.
"For me and for our group, he checks a lot of boxes we were looking for," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "We like his size, we like his skill, we like his 200-foot game. We like his age, he's just entering the prime of his career and he plays a premium position at center. We think he really rounds out our forward group and will give our coaching staff a lot of options going forward."
Hayes talked about the "great relationship on and off the ice" that he had with Alain Vigneault in New York and how the familiarity with the Flyers' head coach will only help.
"He demands hard work," Hayes said. "If you play the correct way, he kind of lets you play freely offensively. That was a huge factor in the decision."
Hayes is from Dorchester, Massachusetts, and knows the Metropolitan Division. Being on the Northeast was appealing for family and market reasons.
"I have three sisters and a brother, both my parents live in Boston," Hayes said. "It's nice that they are just a train ride away. My dad will be at a lot of these games for sure.
"It's such a prestigious organization. I know pretty well playing against them the last five years. And to be able to join them and join that group and the coaching staff, I think Chuck and [Flyers president Paul Holmgren] are putting together a team that can do some damage and ultimately win the Stanley Cup."
Money absolutely talks, but the Flyers checked a lot of Hayes' boxes, too.
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