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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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09
 
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