It’s official: Panthers right winger is now with the Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins are really busy improving their roster for the new season. Their plan to have a strong defensive core to hit the playoffs can be seen through their latest signings. In fact, GM Don Sweeney seems serious about inking deals with free agents.

Shortly after the NHL free agency period opened, the B’s acquired right winger Jimmy Hayes from the Florida Panthers on Wednesday in exchange for Reilly Smith.

Hayes, a restricted free agent, scored 19 goals and added 16 assists in 72 games with the Panthers last season. In parts of four seasons with the Panthers and Chicago, Hayes had 36 goals and in 168 games.

In his career of 168 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers, the 25-year-old winger has scored 36 goals and 30 assists.

The 6-foot-6 Hayes was drafted in the second round (60th overall) of 2008 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then, the Leafs traded him to the Blackhawks in exchange for Bradley Ross, the 43rd overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

During the 2013–14 season, Hayes was traded again, along with Dylan Olsen, to the Panthers in exchange for Kris Versteeg and Philippe Lefebvre. On July 29, 2014, Hayes signed a one-year, one-way contract for $925,000 with the Panthers. During that season, the right winger enjoyed his first full season in the NHL with the Panthers.

On the other hand, the Panthers also acquired the contract of Marc Savard in the deal, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun said. He last appeared in the NHL in 2011 because of concussion-related issues and is owed $575,000 for each of the next two seasons.

Meanwhile, the recently-traded Smith scored 13 goals and registered 40 points in 81 games with the Bruins last season.

Well, it is not totally a loss for Florida GM Dale Tallon for his team acquired two good players, but the transfer of Hayes is somewhat frustrating for the Panthers.

Hopefully, the restricted free young agent can help the Bruins back to the playoffs. His good track record in the field and of course, his professionalism and hard work might be of great help to create a big splash for Sweeney’s team this season. Who knows, he might be participating in his second Stanley Cup playoffs game with the Bruins. Perhaps soon? Well, let’s wait and see what he’s got this 2015/2016 season.

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