By Court Lalonde
Well, maybe a little bit. On July 1st, 2015 there was a house in Dorchester, Massachusetts that more than likely couldn’t hold their excitement. Jimmy Hayes was traded to his hometown Boston Bruins for Reilly Smith and Marc Savard from the Florida Panthers. What was to happen in the next couple years wasn’t the fairy tale himself and his family thought it was going to be.
Jimmy Hayes was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008, 60th overall and was later traded in 2010 to the Chicago Blackhawks before ever lacing up for the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the next couple of year, he had his ups and downs in the Blackhawk organization but couldn’t crack the lineup. In November of 2013, was acquired by the Florida Panthers and was able to crack the lineup. In two years in Florida, he showed splashes of a power forward that could put the puck in the net and during 2014 was able to stay in the lineup for 72 games and was able to score 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points. He looked like he had a lot of potential and would be a great addition to any team.
In 2015 the Boston Bruins were looking to get some cap space with the injured Marc Savard’s contract sitting on their books. They found a trade that would create cap space and bring in a player they thought would be would be the much-needed size and skill on the wing they needed. Smith had been on the decline with regards to point production, and Hayes was on the upswing, so it looked a huge steal for the then new GM Don Sweeney. Sweeney then signed the restricted free agent to a three-year contract worth $2.3 million per year.
Since joining the Bruins, Jimmy Hayes play has not been that of what people from Boston call “Boston Bruins hockey.” In fact, it has been the exact opposite and appears that playing in his hometown has become a burden and not a dream. Hayes has struggled to find any scoring touch with the Bruins and hasn’t used his physical presence in games to be that power forward the Bruins thought they were getting. He has shown he can score like his three-goal game against Ottawa at home last year right before the Winter Classic. In 2015 Hayes scored 13 goals and got 16 assists for a total of 29 points in his first year as a Boston Bruin but also got 60 minutes in penalties which were a huge jump from the 20 minutes he got the year before. That increase in penalties shows you he was trying to play a different style of game that ends up costing his team in the long run. This year Hayes has been off to the worst start in his young NHL career and found himself in the press box even more than the penalty box, and it doesn’t look like that trend is going to change anytime soon.
We do have to remember that Jimmy Hayes never asked to be traded to the Boston Bruins and he did offer himself a three-year contract worth $2.3 million a season either. We can only speculate if he wishes he was never traded to the Bruins and if he did, we really can’t blame him. Jimmy Hayes did one thing to this hockey club, and that is cap space, and in today NHL is worth more than point production sometime. Because of this trade, the Boston Bruins now have more cap flexibility going forward and will be able to sign the likes of David Pastrnak this summer and possibly bring in some free agents. So the next time you think Jimmy Hayes is a bad player, remember he has a very cap friendly contract and allowed the Boston Bruins to sign better players and he is a hometown boy, and that has to count for something.