Panthers acquire Reilly Smith from Boston for Jimmy Hayes

Update: Confirmed by the Panthers.

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Panthers have traded Jimmy Hayes to the Boston Bruins for right-winger Reilly Smith and the contract of Marc Savard. Smith is coming off a 40-point season with the Bruins during which he tallied 13 goals and 27 assists. Prior to that, the 24-year old scored 20 goals and notched 31 assists in 82 games.

Jimmy Hayes is coming off a career year during which he scored 19 goals and added 16 assists, but was very streaky and inconsistent throughout the season, causing him to fall out of favor with Head Coach Gerard Gallant. Hayes was an RFA after the season ended and according to GM Dale Tallon, the team was likely headed to arbitration with him for the second straight season. It was also reported around the time of the draft last week that Hayes was being used as trade bait to potentially acquire goaltender Cam Talbot from the Rangers, suggesting the Panthers were indeed looking to move the Boston-native rather than overpay him for one good, yet inconsistent season.

Regarding Reilly Smith, he’ll bring a good combination of speed, skill, and smarts to the Panthers lineup. He likes to drive hard to the net and play around the crease, but he can also take the puck and shoot it from the wing, slot, or even the blueline. He can be a sneaky player that’s tough to defend for the opposition, and overall, he’ll work hard no matter the situation he’s placed in. He’ll be a great complimentary player on the second line with two other highly skilled guys in Brandon Pirri, who Reilly Smith played with all the way back in their Minor Midget days, and Nick Bjugstad. Smith is more suited for a top-6 role than Hayes is in that Smith can create more and potentially drive more offense through possession than Hayes who relies a bit more on his linemates.

Finally, as part of taking on Marc Savard’s contract, the Panthers will pay him $240,000 each of the next two years, although he’ll have a cap hit of $4 million during that time as well.


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