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Blues trade Kevin Hayes to Penguins for future considerations: What it means for both teams


Blues trade Kevin Hayes to Penguins for future considerations: What it means for both teams

The St. Louis Blues have traded center Kevin Hayes and a 2025 second-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for future considerations. No salary was retained in the deal, a league source told The Athletic.

Hayes, 32, was acquired by the Blues last offseason from the Philadelphia Flyers for a sixth-round draft pick this year.

He was expected to give the team veteran depth at center, but it was a subpar season. He had 13 goals and 29 points, and despite leading the Blues with a 57 percent winning percentage on faceoffs, his lack of speed was an issue and he was a healthy scratch in multiple games down the stretch for a team battling for a playoff spot.

The Blues were paying Hayes just 50 percent of his salary ($7.1 million cap hit), with the Flyers retaining 50 percent in the trade. He has two years remaining on the deal.

What this means for St. Louis

The Blues dumped Hayes’ $3.571 million salary and a player who was not going to be a part of their future. What does it mean for the lineup and salary cap situation?

They acquired Alexandre Texier from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, and general manager Doug Armstrong expects him to play on the wing in the middle six. Hayes played mostly at center last season, but there was a chance, with his declining speed, that he would’ve seen more time on the wing if he returned in 2025-26.

So for now, Texier is the player stepping into the lineup for Hayes, though the Blues will need to address who will center the third line. It could be Brayden Schenn if the team is sold on Pavel Buchnevich playing in the middle on the second line.

The Blues did not retain any of Hayes’ salary in the deal, essentially giving up a second-round pick for Pittsburgh to take on his entire cap hit. So the Blues now have $16.2 million in cap space for a roster currently at 18 players under contract for 2025-26.

Of course, they could use that available cap space on a center in free agency, which starts on Monday. The Hayes trade created some room, but this deal was equally about moving a player who no longer fit in their plans. — Jeremy Rutherford, Blues senior writer

Is this a good deal for Pittsburgh?

With this trade, Kyle Dubas didn’t make the Penguins younger and faster, one of his stated goals.

However, let’s not forget another of Dubas’ important goals is for the Penguins to stockpile as many picks as possible. The Blues are giving the Penguins a second-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, and the Penguins are essentially giving up nothing, another way of saying “future considerations.” The Blues don’t project to be a very good team next season so that second-round pick could be fairly high next summer.

Dubas wants picks and prospects. So, in that regard, he bettered the Penguins.

On the ice, right now, I’m not sure he did. Hayes isn’t the player he once was and is coming off a disappointing season in St. Louis. That said, given how poor the Penguins’ bottom six is, he could represent an upgrade, though his lack of foot speed is certainly an issue. — Josh Yohe, Penguins senior writer

(Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

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