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The Curious Case of Jimmy Hayes

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Despite decent advanced statistics, Jimmy Hayes has underperformed for the Bruins, and therefore is struggling to find his place in the lineup.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, Jimmy Hayes' stats don't look great.

26 games, 12 points, -4 rating, 14:11 average time on ice.

Big whoop.

However, digging deeper into Hayes' stats reveals that the giant from Dorchester isn't playing as poorly as many believe.

Hayes boasts a 70.6 individual point percentage and an even strength PDO of 97.7%. He owns a collective Corsi rating of 51.5% and has 26 individual high scoring chances on the season in five on five play. That's not too bad for someone who is struggling to regain his footing in the lineup.

Healthy Scratch

So why was the former Boston College Eagle a healthy scratch in Claude Julien's lineup for two of the past four games?

A goalless stretch of twelve games certainly helped, but Hayes has appeared invisible in more ways than one. For a 6'6'", 221 lb menace, Hayes rarely throws his weight around, instead settling to chase the puck around the 200 foot sheet of ice. A good skater, especially for someone of his gargantuan frame, Hayes has never been mistaken for a "grinder".

Hayes struggled mightily in the five games before his eventual two game trip to the press box. He only amassed a measly five shots, four hits, zero blocked shots, a minus five rating, and only managed a single assist. All of those games were decided by a single goal.

In his first game back in the lineup, Hayes was shifted down from the third to the fourth line, presumably because the combination of him, Frank Vatrano, and Ryan Spooner fell victim to puck chasing. He is back on the third line again, and will slot in there tonight versus Edmonton.

Digging Deep

Despite Hayes' recent lackluster performances, he sits above the league average in many "fancy" stats. His percent of Corsi for as scoring chances for, shots for, and Fenwick for rest at a comfortable six and seven percent above the league average. His uninspiring overall 8% shooting percentage accounts for why he only has four goals on the campaign.

For as great as his analytical offense is, his defense struggles. He is consistently two or three percentage points below the league average in terms of percent of Corsi against as fenwick against, shots against, and scoring chances against.

One stat that really springs off of the page for Hayes is his percentage of individual Corsi for as high danger scoring chances. Simply put, 41.94% of Hayes total shot attempts are in an area of the ice that is considered to be 'dangerous' or when Hayes is the focal point of the play. The league average is 19.72%: Hayes doubles that.

With so many of his shots coming from an area on the ice that is conducive to scoring goals, Hayes' poor shooting percentage looks even worse. In order to increase his individual production, Hayes needs to find his shot. Once he does, considering the amount of high danger scoring chances that he has amassed, he should be lighting up the scoreboard.

Future Impact

With David "The Future" Pastrnak and Joonas "I Still Cannot Spell His Name" Kemppainen returning to the lineup in the not too distant future, Julien will need to make a decision on how to shuffle the lineup. Assuming that Maxime Talbot will make the short drive back down to Providence and Brett Connolly will slide down the lineup, Hayes could be found in an awkward spot, especially if his quality of play doesn't improve. If Hayes can tighten his play up in the defensive zone and continue upon his offensive analytical production, he should be able to stay in the lineup for the Bruins and be a valuable contributor as the calendar shifts into 2016.

All stats, unless otherwise noted, are from stats.hockeyanalysis.com or War on Ice.