Panthers sign forward Jimmy Hayes

With Jimmy Hayes now under contract, the Florida Panthers have only first-round pick Aaron Ekblad left to sign.

Sergei Belski/Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers have signed forward Jimmy Hayes to a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Jimmy," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a release. "We look forward to his continued contributions to our team both on and off the ice."

Hayes, 24, was acquired by the Panthers along with defensemean Dylan Olsen on Nov. 14 in a trade that sent forward Kris Versteeg to Chicago.

Upon his arrival in Florida, Hayes quickly carved out a niche for himself on the Panthers’ offense. Using his 6-foot-6, 221-pound frame to screen opposing goaltenders, he saw career bests in goals (11) and assists (7) in 53 games played last season.

A second-round pick of Toronto in 2008, Hayes has notched 17 goals and 14 assists in 96 NHL games with Florida and Chicago.

With Hayes now under contract, the Panthers have only No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad left to sign. Tallon has stated that he hopes to ink Ekblad by training camp.

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