By Matt Bowker


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — And so it begins. The Flyers kicked off what could be a busy offseason, acquiring the rights to center Kevin Hayes in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets Monday night.

Hayes, 27, will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so the deal gives the Flyers an early window to strike a deal with the center. The Flyers sent Winnipeg a 2019 fifth-round pick for the rights to the 6-foot-5, 216-pound center.

In 2018, Hayes recorded a career-high 55 points — 19 goals and 36 assists — in 71 games with the Rangers and Jets.

Hayes previously played with new Flyers’ coach Alain Vigneault from 2014 to 2018 in New York. He posted a career-high 25 goals under Vigneault in 2017-18.

In his career, Hayes has a total of 92 goals and 137 assists for 229 points in 381 games.

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This will be general manager Chuck Fletcher’s first offseason at the helm of the Flyers since he took over after Ron Hextall’s mid-season firing. Fletcher has vowed to upgrade the Flyers’ uneven roster and has mentioned second-line center as a need for the Flyers.

Hayes, if re-signed, could fill that role while Nolan Patrick develops his all-around game.