The Bruins are the NHL’s best team, but a Stanley Cup is far from guaranteed. There aren’t many roster holes, but loading up for the stretch run could solidify the Black and Gold’s standing as the league’s No. 1 contender.
Given the lack of obvious need, the Bruins can be and should be open to any and all options to improve the roster. They’re extremely deep up front with one of the NHL’s best selections of top-six forwards. So, on the surface, the addition of a player like Kevin Hayes might not make sense, but The Fourth Period’s Anthony Di Marco wondered whether the Bruins might have interest in bringing the local boy home.
Di Marco recently reported the Flyers are open to moving the 30-year-old, and if that happens, Di Marco pointed to the Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes as teams that could be interested.
The Flyers moving Hayes is far from a sure thing, though, because he has a potentially burdensome contract. Hayes is signed through the 2025-26 season with a bulky cap hit of $7.14 million, and he has a limited no-movement clause. According to Di Marco, the Flyers are willing to retain money, but that obviously would increase the demand for return in a deal.
One other consideration: Hayes is having the best season of his career. The Boston College alum has 15 goals and 30 assists through just 49 games, a handful of points away from tying his career-high of 49 that he set with the Rangers in 2016-17 in 79 games.
If a team like the Bruins — who obviously are contending for a Cup this year but also need to start building for the future — career-best Hayes makes a lot of sense. But that’s a hefty price to pay based solely on the absolute height of a player’s production to this point in his career.
Further complicating the matter is teams like Colorado and Carolina might simply need him more. The Avalanche have been ravished by injuries in their Stanley Cup defense, as they fight just to get back in the playoffs. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, just lost Max Pacioretty for the season to his second Achilles injury this year. So, even if the Flyers make Hayes available, it’s not hard to envision needier teams paying a heftier price to make a deal before the March 3 trade deadline.
That the Bruins shouldn’t feel obligated to overextend themselves for any player is a luxury earned by a blistering start to the season.