One of the items on the Flyers offseason checklist was to look for a second-line center. The Flyers are in position to lock one up well before free agency hits.

The Flyers have acquired forward Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick, GM Chuck Fletcher announced on Monday night.

Hayes, who turned 27 on May 8, is a pending unrestricted free agent, so now that the Flyers have his rights, they can begin working on a new contract immediately instead of waiting for the upcoming free agency period. New deals for free agents cannot be announced until July 1 and negotiations begin approximately one week prior.

Hayes spent the first four seasons of his NHL career with the New York Rangers. In the 2017-18 season, Hayes scored a career-high 25 goals and added 19 assists for 44 points. In 51 games with the Rangers in 2018-19, Hayes scored 14 goals and added 28 assists for 42 points before being traded to the Jets. In 20 games with the Jets, Hayes scored five goals and had 13 points. Hayes also had two goals and an assist in six games in the playoffs for Winnipeg.

Hayes was coached by Alain Vigneault, the new Flyers head coach, in his first four seasons with the Rangers, so there is a connection there as well.

This move comes on the heels of comments from Fletcher about how the Flyers will be aggressive in pursuing new additions that will help the team return to contention. Sacrificing a late-round pick for a potential name in the free-agent market is certainly an aggressive move.

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, there is nothing imminent in terms of a new contract for Hayes with the Flyers, but with one month to negotiate, there is time to get a deal done.

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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