It has been an interesting start to the NHL season, but boy has it been an exciting one! The Toronto Maple Leafs look like a rejuvenated team, fresh with youth mixed with experience.
The media has covered the ‘flair’ side of the Toronto Maple Leafs young guns but hasn’t covered some of the rookie workhorses in the organisation.
Zach Hyman is one of those players, spending quite a lot of time on a line with Auston Matthews is a great place to start. The two players cannot be more separate in terms of their entry into the league.
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, 123rd overall, Hyman couldn’t agree terms and went to College at the University of Michigan.
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In 2015, he was the Wolverines assistant captain and was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award which, by the way, included Jimmy Vesey and Jack Eichel.
Scoring 54 points that season, he can play.
Last season took him to the Ricoh Coliseum where he totaled 37 points in 59 regular season games.
A lot was made of his 10 game pointless streak earlier in the season, with a rebuilding side not every player can be scoring points for fun especially for rookies. He has points and goals in him, and with experience these will undoubtedly come.
It is what he does in his all-around game that’s exciting me. He is an animal on the puck, he works incredibly hard for this team.
Another adage for Hyman is that he is a Toronto native, he knows what it means to don the blue and white sweater, and you can see that every night he takes to the ice, a player like Hyman is where Babcock’s genius is evident, a talented grinder who brings out the best in his line mates.
Saturday’s goal against the Penguins was typical of Hyman, working hard and getting into the right place at the right time in front of the net to beat the ridiculous Matt Murray.
The thing I admire about him is that he is not just and old-school try hard, he has an abundance of talent. It is that hard work and talent that will make this Leafs side contenders in years to come.
For every McDavid there needs to be a Lucic, a guy who protects and brings out the best in those All Stars. Look at Chris Kunitz, he has always played with Malkin and Crosby because he is a grafter and brings out the best in those players, they win Cups because of this.
It is very easy to focus on the talented youngsters in Toronto at this moment with Matthews, Marner and Nylander.
Just take a moment to watch the workhorses on this team, Hyman and Brown. You don’t always need the best players, sometimes you need the right ones.