Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 12, 2023
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek repeated his earlier report of conversations between the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets regarding Flyers forward Kevin Hayes. Given the Flyers’ recent change in management and anticipated rebuild, he expects those talks with the Jackets about Hayes to pick up again closer to the 2023 Draft in late June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayes’ contract ($7.14 average annual value through 2025-26) was difficult to move during a season with a flattened salary cap. Despite his 12-team no-trade clause, the 30-year-old center might be easier to trade between late June and early July when clubs have more cap space to work with.
The Blue Jackets have a longstanding need for skilled centers. Cap Friendly shows they have a projected $18.3 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 17 players under contract and all their core players signed for next season. They have room to take on Hayes but could still ask the Flyers to retain part of his cap hit or take back some salary in return.
Marek also wondered about Carter Hart’s future with the Flyers given the emergence of goaltender Samuel Ersson, who’s been up and down this season between the big club and their AHL affiliate.
Hart has a year remaining on his contract but the Flyers can extend him this summer. However, if they’re going to go through a rebuild, Marek wondered what Hart could fetch on the trade market and if the 24-year-old netminder wants to spend the best seasons of his career with a rebuilding Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart was supposed to be the franchise goalie the Flyers have been lacking since Ron Hextall’s glory days in the late-1980s. He showed plenty of promise in his first two NHL seasons, including out-dueling Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in the 2020 playoffs. However, he struggled the following season and has had to deal with a depleted team in front of him since 2021-22.
Hart carries an affordable $3.9 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. He’ll also be eligible for salary arbitration.
Given Hart’s age and potential, the Flyers shouldn’t have any trouble finding suitors this summer if they decide to tear it all down or if he’s reluctant to be part of a long rebuild process. As Marek suggested, Hart’s situation will be something worth watching in the offseason.
Marek also briefly wondered about Ivan Provorov’s future in Philadelphia.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Provorov surfaced in the rumor mill during the weeks leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $6.75 million and lacks no-trade protection.
Like Hayes, moving his salary during a season with a flattened salary cap was difficult to do. Perhaps they’ll have better luck in the offseason provided they’re willing to consider moving him.