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From The Press Box


From The Press Box is a weekly column written by FloridaPanthers.com and NHL.com writer Alain Poupart. Poupart has been covering the Panthers and the NHL for 20 years.

Have a question for Alain? Be sure to ask him through twitter @apoupartFins.


A Big Presence

Jimmy Hayes has been making an impact since he’s been added to the power play

Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 9:25 AM / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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A Big Presence
Jimmy Hayes has been making an impact since he\u2019s been added to the power play

There has been a significant change in the Panthers’ lineup over the last several games, and it has nothing to do with the return of Roberto Luongo to South Florida or the arrival of highly touted prospect Vincent Trocheck.

It’s a development that was a little more subtle, but has produced positive results nonetheless. The move in question was the decision to put forward Jimmy Hayes on the power play.

Hayes, you may recall, was one of the two Young Guns, along with defenseman Dylan Olsen, acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in the trade involving Kris Versteeg. The first thing that jumped out with Hayes when he first arrived in South Florida was just how big he is.

Well, he’s putting that size to good use now.

Hayes has been planting his 6-foot-6, 221-pound frame in front of the net and has been making life difficult for opposing goalies. It’s an element the Panthers were lacking on the power play.

The thing with Hayes is he’s got good enough hands that he could wind up scoring his share of goals by sticking close to the net. Just go back to the game last Sunday against the Boston Bruins when Hayes recorded both Panthers’ goals. Both came from close range.

It’s already been well established that the Panthers have plenty of skilled forwards in the pipeline — we’ve gotten a glimpse recently of Trocheck and Brandon Pirri, who scored his first goal in a Panthers uniform in the game against the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night.

The Panthers also need a dose of physicality, and that’s where Hayes could carve his niche. Former Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom had himself quite a career as a player whose specialty was doing the dirty work in front of the net.

The power forward who can score has long been one of the most precious commodities in the NHL. It’s probably too early to gauge exactly what kind of scorer Hayes could become in the NHL, but let’s remember he had 25 goals in 67 games for Rockford in the American Hockey League last season, a total that included eight power-play goals.

Hayes’ addition to the power play unquestionably has made a difference, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be a fixture on it moving forward.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
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