The Florida Panthers have traded restricted free agent forward Jimmy Hayes to the Boston Bruins for winger Reilly Smith and the contract of injured Bruin Marc Savard.
A third round draft choice of the Dallas Stars in 2008, Smith is a 24-year-old who has scored 33 goals and 58 assists, while missing just one regular season game, over the past two seasons for the B's. Smith inked a two-year, $6.85M extension with the Bruins in March so he will be a Panther for the next seasons. He came to Beantown as part of the Tyler Seguin blockbuster. The better of his two NHL campaigns came in his rookie season when he potted 20 goals and set up 31 others. Last season, he scored 13 goals and added 27 helpers.
Savard has not played since the 2010-11 season due to concussion-related issues. His contract carries a cap hit of just over $4M hit for the next two seasons, so that frees up some much needed cap space for Boston and gets the Cats comfortably over the cap floor. Florida will pay Savard $575K in real dollars in each of those two seasons until the contract finally expires.
Hayes, who was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, heads north to Boston, where he hails from and also played his college hockey. The jumbo-sized winger notched 19 goals and 16 assists in 72 games with the Panthers last season. It was his second year with the Cats after coming over as part of the deal that sent Kris Versteeg to the Chicago Blackhawks in November of 2013. The Bruins will need to sign Hayes to an extension.
The Panthers offered Hayes, who reportedly turned down some offers from the club, to the New York Rangers in an effort to acquire Cam Talbot over draft weekend. It's my feeling the drafting of Lawson Crouse made Hayes expendable in the eyes of Panthers management.