The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action tonight and so is Zach Hyman.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been without Zach Hyman on the roster to start the season and it shows. The Tavares/Marner line hasn’t looked all that comfortable to start the year.
The Leafs tried to use Kasperi Kapanen in that role as a placeholder, but it didn’t work. Kapanen didn’t look comfortable at all and neither did the rest of the line.
Since then, they’ve primarily been using Trevor Moore on the left wing with a couple of glimpses of Ilya Mikheyev as well. And while Moore has looked the part more than Kapanen did, it still wasn’t the same.
Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries
Regardless, Hyman is back tonight. And of course, just in time for Mitch Marner to be out with a high ankle sprain. There’s seemingly been a revolving door of injuries since the start of the season, which can’t have helped the Leafs chances over the first month of the season.
Jake Muzzin left with an injury the same game Travis Dermott came back, and now Mitch leaves the lineup right as Zach Hyman is ready to suit up.
Based on the way the Leafs were running lines at practice yesterday, it looks as though Hyman will assume his role alongside of Tavares while Kapanen takes Marner’s spot on the right side.
The third line consisting of Mikheyev, Alex Kerfoot, and Moore will also stay intact (as it should).
Tonight’s game is going to be far from an easy one. The Maple Leafs are headed to New York to face off against the Islanders on the road. Former New York Islander John Tavares will be going back to face off against his former team, and while he likely won’t hear the amount of boos he did the first time around, Islanders fans probably won’t take it easy on him.
The Islanders are fresh off of a ten game winning streak, and they’ve been playing great hockey all year long. The Maple Leafs? Eh, so-so.
With the absence of Mitch Marner, the Maple Leafs are going to be heavily relying on the duo of Auston Matthews and William Nylander to fill in and step up.
They were without a doubt the Leafs’ best line on Sunday night against the Blackhawks, with Matthews potting four assists and William Nylander scoring twice. While it’s more than likely that Hyman will suit up alongside of Tavares and Kapanen, it would be nice to see him slot on Matthews’ left side and give Johnsson a look next to Tavares.
Games against the Islanders are always a treat, and even more so now that Tavares is facing off against the team he spent so many years with.