Flyers center Kevin Hayes, who has only played 20 games after having his second abdominal surgery in September, will be out of the lineup three to four weeks because he underwent a procedure Tuesday to drain fluid from his adductor region, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced.
Hayes, 29, has struggled since returning to the lineup and has not looked like himself, collecting three goals, nine points, and a minus-12 rating. He had just one goal in his last 13 games, and was recently dropped to the third line.
“He was trying to battle through some things, and he’s (now) giving it some time, and hopefully when he comes back he feels a little bit better and relieved,” forward Scott Laughton said before Tuesday’s home game against the Islanders. “I commend him for playing through what he has and what he’s gone through. An unbelievable teammate and guy, a guy we’ll miss in the room.”
“It’s not easy playing through pain and discomfort,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. “I think this was more a doctor’s call that something needed to be done. … Obviously, it’s a big loss for us at a time where we’re very thin at the center-ice position.”
The Flyers, who take an eight-game losing streak into Tuesday, have five centers sidelined: Hayes, Sean Couturier, Derick Brassard (who also played wing), Patrick Brown, and Nate Thompson.
“It’s going to be a challenge; we need guys to step up right now,” Yeo said.
Morgan Frost, who was the fourth-line left winger, will move into Hayes’ spot on the third line, centering James van Riemsdyk and Gerry Mayhew.
The Flyers’ four centers Tuesday will be Claude Giroux, Laughton, Frost, and Connor Bunnaman. When the season started, Laughton was the only one from that group playing center on the Flyers.