Hayes not involved in Gauthier's decision, sounds off on online backlash
Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes rejected the notion Tuesday that he had any involvement in Cutter Gauthier's decision not to sign with the team.
Hayes, who was traded to the St. Louis Blues last summer, sounded off on the backlash he's received online thanks to a Flyers blog report that suggested he was influential in Gauthier's turn against the franchise.
“It’s 100 per cent false," Hayes said. "I don’t know where he got his information from. At first it didn’t really seem like a big deal. But just the s--t that’s come from the aftermath, people with death threats, people want my family dead, people happy my brother’s dead.
"It’s just crazy stuff coming out on something I had not a single aspect of what I’ve done, had any implications on this kid’s decision.”
Following the trade, Flyers general manager Daniel Briere told the media that Gauthier had informed the organization he changed his mind since being drafted fifth overall in 2022 and no longer wanted to play for the Flyers.
"He looked at us at the draft and told us he was built to be a Flyer, wanted to be a Flyer, and maybe a few months later told us that he didn't want to be a Flyer,” remarked Briere.
Briere added the organization kept Gauthier's decision quiet in case he changed he mind back to wanting to play for the Flyers, but eventually had to pull the trigger on a trade.
"When we realized that they refused to talk to us, now it's been months, and he didn't want to be a Flyer. He didn't want to be in Philadelphia. It was time to make it happen," said Briere.
Gauthier, a 19-year-old left winger, scored two goals and 10 assists over seven games at the World Juniors en route to winning gold with Team USA. He also has netted 13 goals with 10 assists over 17 games with Boston College in 2023-24, his second season with the school.
"Then, we don't want you," Tortorella quipped when asked about his reaction to Gauthier's apparent disinterest in playing for the Flyers.
"I don't know Cutter from a hole in the wall. I'm not too interested in talking about him. I rather talk about Jamie. He's the guy that's coming here."
Hayes spent four seasons with the Flyers prior to being traded in the off-season. He joined the team as a free agent in 2019 on a seven-year, $50 million contract.
The 31-year-old has nine goals and 19 points in 38 games this season.