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Former Florida Panthers forward Jimmy Hayes found dead at 31

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Jimmy hayes dead
Jimmy Hayes of the Florida Panthers skates out onto the ice before the start of a game against the host Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center on Feb. 16, 2015. // Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire

Jimmy Hayes, a forward who played for the Florida Panthers from 2013-15, was found dead Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts.

The former Boston College standout was 31.

Hayes, who was traded from Florida as part of the Reilly Smith deal with the Bruins in 2015, is survived by his wife Kristen and two young sons.

A cause of death for Hayes has not yet been released.

According to the Boston Globe, law enforcement and first responders went to Hayes’ home in Milton where he was pronounced dead.

Per the Globe report, Hayes’ death is not considered suspicious.

Hayes played in 334 NHL games for Chicago, Florida, Boston and New Jersey, retiring in 2019. Hayes was also a big part of Boston College’s 2010 national championship team.

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Lately, he had been co-hosting a hockey podcast with fellow former Panthers Scottie Upshall and Shane O’Brien called “Missin Curfew.”

With the Panthers, Hayes had some of his greatest NHL success.

Florida acquired him in a trade with the Blackhawks near the start of the 2013-14 as part of the Kris Versteeg deal.

Hayes became a part of the Panthers following the trade, scoring 11 goals with 18 points in 53 games that season.

In 2014-15, he had his best NHL season, scoring 19 goals with 35 points in 72 games for the Panthers.

Hayes was expected to take the team to arbitration that summer, but Florida GM Dale Tallon traded him to his hometown Bruins in exchange for Smith and the contract of Marc Savard.

“Sometimes you have to give up good assets to get good assets back,” Tallon said at the time.

“It’s a good deal for both teams. Jimmy can score; he scored a lot early in the year but struggled in the second half. We’re looking for a player with more speed who can play more positions, kill penalties, play defense.”

Prior to that trade, Florida had also offered Hayes to the Rangers for goalie Cam Talbot at the draft held in Sunrise although New York ended up making a deal with Edmonton instead.

Boston signed Hayes to a three-year contract worth $6.9 million — and bought out the final year of that deal when he scored two goals in 58 games for the Bruins in 2017-18.

Hayes played his final NHL season with the Devils, scoring three goals with nine points in 33 games.

Jimmy’s younger brother Kevin plays for the Flyers.

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