The Florida Panthers have been an abysmal franchise for over decade and could surely use all of the help they can get. After spending money like a drunken sailor in the Port of Miami in July (over/under is Oct. 10 before they completely regret the David Bolland signing), the team should look to be more shrewd in acquiring players as the season inches closer. One such move could be dangling right in front of them in the form of a player on their roster.
The team recently avoided arbitration by re-signing winger Jimmy Hayes to one-year deal, and the Panthers should utilize Hayes’ presence to improve their team. Jimmy’s younger brother, Kevin Hayes, is coming off strong senior season at Boston College where Jimmy once played. Kevin was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, but he has been unable to agree to a deal with the Hawks, meaning he will be a free agent on Aug. 15.
The Panthers will be able to sign the younger Hayes without forfeiting anything but the money in the contract. Being able to get a solid, young talent like Hayes for practically nothing is something the Panthers should pursue and have his older brother acting as their lead recruiter.
South Florida sells itself, and the fact he’d be a lock to play in the NHL next season should be more than enough to land him; but having his brother front and center surely doesn’t hurt. The NHL has seen many pairs of brothers team up from the Niedermayers to the Sedins, and there is no reason why the duo from Dorchester, Mass. can’t be next.
Hayes may never develop into a franchise-altering star, but he surely has long career ahead of him as a solid pro player. Bringing him in will surely be another step towards escaping the NHL’s basement.
A pair of Boston born brothers trading in the Neponset River for South Beach is great selling point that is something seemingly out of a movie. No word yet if Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will be playing the Hayes brothers in a future film adaptation of their respective hockey careers.