Bruins sign Hayes, Connolly and DeFazio


The Bruins announced they've signed former Boston College standout Jimmy Hayes to a three-year contract worth $6.9 million, keeping the Dorchester native in Boston for the foreseeable future.

The 25-year-old forward was acquired from the Florida Panthers last week in exchange for Reilly Smith and the rights to Marc Savard's contract. 

Hayes, who played in 72 games for the Panthers last season, scored 19 goals and tallied 16 assists. 

The B's also signed forward Brett Connolly to a one-year, $1.025 million deal and Connolly is as happy as anyone to put last year behind him.

The 23-year-old right winger was moved away from the Tampa Bay Lightning when they didn’t have space for him in their top-nine forwards, and then busted up his hand just two practices into his stint with the Boston Bruins. Connolly ended up racking up two assists and 10 whopping penalty minutes in five games at the end of the regular season after recovering from the hand injury, and finished with 12 goals and 17 points in 55 games.

So the 6-foot-2-inch, 183-pounder was excited upon signing a one-year deal with the Bruins giving himself a chance to establish himself among a new look group of forwards next season.

“It’s exciting. It’s good to get [the contract] out of the way. I’m very, very excited for this season. Obviously, it’s kind of a fresh start for the organization…moving a few guys. So it’s a good opportunity for me and I’m very excited to be a part of the Bruins,” said Connolly, was dealt to Boston in exchange for a pair of second round picks at the NHL trade deadline. “It’s such a historic franchise, and it will be a good, fresh start for me. Obviously last year was a little weird, [so] it will be good to get there and get going.

“When teams do kind of re-tool, it gives opportunities for guys like myself to step up and contribute and that’s what every guy wants…he wants an opportunity to play and to be a contributor. Obviously it’s a fresh start, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I should be in a pretty good situation here this year, so I’m excited to get going. I can’t wait to get down [to Boston].”

It remains to be seen where Connolly slots into the B’s lineup once the season gets going. But the former No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 draft could be anywhere from the first line to the third line on the Bruins where his dangerous right-handed shot and ideal size could potentially add plenty on the right wing. 

The Bruins also signed forward Brandon DeFazio to a one-year, two-way contract through worth $575,000 at the NHL level.

DeFazio skated in two games for the Vancouver Canucks last season and the winger spent the majority of the 2014-15 season with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, where he led the team with 21 goals. 


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