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.

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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 ET / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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A Big Presence

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

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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