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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 MTL 60 39 16 5 162 133 83
2 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
3 NYR 59 37 16 6 186 145 80
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 60 26 21 13 145 169 65
10 PHI 61 26 24 11 162 178 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 59 26 29 4 155 184 56
14 TOR 60 24 31 5 167 183 53
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 61 18 38 5 114 204 41

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 60 21 15 -7 36
J. Huberdeau 57 9 24 5 33
A. Ekblad 60 9 23 6 32
J. Jokinen 59 6 25 -3 31
B. Boyes 58 10 18 6 28
J. Hayes 51 17 10 -3 27
A. Barkov 49 9 12 -3 21
T. Fleischmann 51 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 60 3 17 2 20
S. Bergenheim 39 8 10 2 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 22 15 11 .921 2.39
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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