The first tryout-turned-contract of 2017-18? That belongs to forward Jimmy Hayes. While the New Jersey Devils have yet to make an announcement, Mark Divver of the Providence Journal was the first to report that Hayes has indeed made the team and has signed a one-way contract with the team. TSN’s Bob McKenzie has since added that the deal is for one year and $700K.
Divver, who not only covers the Boston Bruins and AHL’s Providence Bruins, is also very involved with the junior and college hockey landscape in New England. When it comes to Hayes, a Dorchester, Mass. native and former Bruin and Boston College Eagle, Divver is as reliable a source as anyone. So even though it comes as a surprise that Hayes has earned a one-way contract, it appears to be true, as corroborated by McKenzie. Hayes was bought out by Boston back in June after a disastrous two-season stint with his hometown team. Acquired from the Florida Panthers for Reilly Smith in 2015, Hayes scored only 34 points in 133 games with the Bruins after recording 35 in his final season in Florida alone. In 2016-17, Hayes posted only five points in 58 games while playing less than ten minutes a night. The fans in Boston turned on one of their own and few were upset when he was cut earlier this off-season.
Yet, Hayes has managed to find a new home in New Jersey. Hayes scored two goals and added an assist in five preseason games and did enough to impress GM Ray Shero and head coach John Hynes. Perhaps the front office and coaching staff see the 20-goal potential that Hayes showed in Florida but which disappeared in Boston. Regardless, Hayes will join a Devils team which could certainly use some added depth and will get the chance to play alongside former Bruins teammate Drew Stafford, who himself was a late, affordable depth addition for the Devils. Hayes could have a bounce-back season and play a solid bottom-six role for New Jersey, but could just as easily be pushed by the Devils’ young prospects and find himself on waivers sooner rather than later.