NHL

Kevin Hayes biggest chip as Jets go all-in with 6 trades on Monday

Considered one of the favourites to capture the Stanley Cup, the Winnipeg Jets made six deals ahead of Monday's trade deadline, the biggest being for top-six forward Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers.

Winnipeg swaps mostly picks, prospects to add depth for a Stanley Cup run

Versatile forward Kevin Hayes is joining the Jets. The 26-year-old pending unrestricted free agent is expected to skate alongside Patrik Laine on Winnipeg's second line. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Considered one of the favourites to capture the Stanley Cup, the Winnipeg Jets made six deals ahead of Monday's trade deadline, the biggest being for top-six forward Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff acquired versatile forward Hayes for Winnipeg's first-round pick in this summer's draft, forward Brendan Lemieux and a 2022 conditional pick. The conditional pick is a fourth-rounder should the Jets win the Stanley Cup.

"Everyone knows how good the Jets are," Hayes said. "They have a serious chance to win the Cup. I'm just happy and proud they chose me. I think it'll be a good fit."

Winnipeg remained busy before the trade deadline with five other deals.

  • The Jets acquired centre Matt Hendricks from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2020 seventh-round pick;
  • Received Par Lindholm from the Toronto Maple Leafs for minor-leaguer Nic Petan in a swap of forwards;
  • Picked up defenceman Bogdan Kiselevich from the Florida Panthers for a seventh-rounder in 2021;
  • Dealt for defenceman Nathan Beaulieu from the Buffalo Sabres for a draft pick;
  • And traded for Alex Broadhurst from Columbus for future considerations.

"Well, I think regardless of the number that I made, I didn't set out to try to set any type of records or any type of personal accomplishments or anything like that," Cheveldayoff told reporters a couple hours after the trade deadline passed.

"I think from Day 1 with the organization, and my tenure here, we've said we'll do whatever we need to do. Whether that's make some trades, acquire some draft picks."

The six-foot-five, 216-pound Hayes has primarily played centre with the Rangers but has experience on the wing. He is expected to supplant Bryan Little down the middle on the Jets' second line with Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers.

"I'm going to play with some good wingers who can score some goals," Hayes said without making any assumptions. "I'm a pass-first type player and I'm excited to play with some goal scorers."

Hayes, 26, has scored 14 goals and 42 points in 51 games this season and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Cousins with original Jets star Keith Tkachuk, Hayes used to cheer for Winnipeg with the rest of his family in the Boston area before the franchise relocated to Arizona in 1996.

"It's obviously tough to leave New York, but I'm excited to join the Jets," Hayes said on a conference call with reporters. "Everyone knows how good they are and the type of players they have.

"I'm excited to get going."

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A prolific passer, Hayes has played against the opposition's top lines this season, kills penalties.

He has 11 points on the power play and has logged a career-high 19 minutes 27 seconds of ice time, a notable jump from last season's 17:21, Hayes' previous high.

"Over the last couple years I've become a well-rounded player," said Hayes, a native of Dorchester, Mass. "When I first came into the league I was mainly all offence, but I've learned to play pretty well defensively."

Lemieux, 22, has nine goals, 11 points and a plus-10 rating in 44 contests with Winnipeg this season. The Denver native also ranks 10th among NHL rookies in hits (81) this season.

The six-foot-one, 210-pound Lemieux, who made his NHL debut on Oct. 20, 2017 against Minnesota, posted 19 goals and 43 points in 51 appearances last season for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.

The Rangers have eight picks in this year's draft, including five in the first two rounds: Their own first-round pick, Winnipeg's first-rounder, their own second-round pick, either Dallas' second-round pick or first-round pick, and either Tampa Bay's second-round pick and first-round pick). New York made four selections in the first two rounds last year.

A year ago, Winnipeg loaded up for a playoff run by dealing for centre Paul Stastny from St. Louis, who signed with the Vegas Golden Knights as a UFA last summer.

"I like this group," Cheveldayoff said. "No two years are ever going to be similar, even if you have every single player the same. You're going to go through your ups, you're going to go through your downs, you're going to have your adversity."

Ben Chiarot fined for high stick

Jets defenceman Ben Chiarot has been fined for cross-checking Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Cousins during Arizona's 4-1 victory on Sunday night.

The league announced Monday that Chiarot has been fined $3,763, the maximum allowed under the labour contract.

Chiarot was assessed a minor penalty for the play, which occurred late in the second period.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Canadian Press

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