Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Zach Hyman Has Become Invaluable

Toronto Maple Leafs - Zach Hyman (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Zach Hyman (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman has reached evolved from energy filled grinder, to arguably a legitimate star player.

When Zach Hyman was called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2015/2016, we all saw an energy filled forward banging and crashing around the ice like a waterbug.

A relentless hound dog, who just put his work boots on and went to battle, Hyman was a positive sign for the Maple Leafs rebuild after what was possibly the franchises worst season ever.

Looking back, the trade that acquired him was an absolute steal, and one of Kyle Dubas’ best.

Hey Look, The New Guy!

In his rookie campaign, Hyman was immediately bumped up to the first line alongside first overall pick Auston Matthews and William Nylander on the wing. As much as the fans of the team enjoyed Hymans gritty game, the decision by Mike Babcock at the time was heavily criticized.

There were many decisions Mike Babcock made that shouldn’t have even been considered, but Zach Hyman on the top line was not one of them.

Hyman would prove his worth his rookie season, scoring ten goals and eighteen assists for twenty-eight points in all 82 games played. Not only was Hyman the spark plug he always was, he was crucial in creating time and space for Matthews and Nylander to be creative and play their own style effectively.

Is Zach Hyman Good?

In Hyman’s sophomore season, the skill started to peek its way through in his game. Hyman scored fifteen goals and tallied twenty-five assists for forty points in eighty-two games played.

While still not averaging typical first liner numbers, Hyman was no longer your average versatile bottom six forward anymore. He could provide the energy, and also put it in the back of the net too while playing top minutes in key situations.

By year three, Zach Hyman had become a fan favourite in Toronto. A player valued more for his determination and work ethic than his skill set, Hyman encapsulated everything Maple Leafs fans have been dying for since the days of Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour. In seventy-one games played in 2018/2019, Hyman scored a career high twenty-one goals and forty-one points.


As a professional athlete, there are man adversities you can go through to make you stronger. Considered as an afterthought but many early on, each season Hyman has been able to elevate his game to the next level, bringing just a bit more to the table that only comes from someone who is dedicated to their craft and always motivated to succeed.

During the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Hyman suffered an ACL injury that kept him from attending the 2019/2020 Maple Leafs training camp and the first nineteen games of the season. If missing the training camp and nineteen games wasn’t tough enough for Hyman already; once he was put back in the lineup, he was heavily leaned on as the Maple Leafs start to the season was already beginning to take a nose dive into the deep end.

In the first nineteen games of the 2019/2020 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs held a record of 9-6-4. Hyman returned to action and played in just four games before the team announced the firing of head coach Mike Babcock, hiring Sheldon Keefe from the Toronto Marlies.

Mike Babcock was coach with many faults, and he was clearly a Zach Hyman fan. If there were to be any player negatively affected by a new coach, it had to be Hyman right? Hyman was relied heavily on by Mike Babcock in all different kinds of situations, it only made sense that a new coach would put a halt to that. We all thought Hyman would regress, and we were all wrong.

In the next twenty games played, Hyman would end up scoring nine goals and five assists for fourteen points. Under Sheldon Keefe, Hyman has averaged 19:01 TOI and has scored twenty-one goals and sixteen assists for thirty-seven points in forty-seven games played.

At a 60ish point pace, Hyman again has been able to elevate his game to an entirely new level, this time coming off a significant injury and a coaching change.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are built on skill and speed. The best part of Zach Hyman is that he doesn’t embody the makeup of this Maple Leafs team at all.

He isn’t the most skilled player, and he certainly isn’t the speediest player either. The one thing that sets Zach Hyman apart from every other player on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster is his ability to just get the job done.

No matter how good or bad the Maple Leafs are, you can always count on the same effort from Hyman day in and day out.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have faced an immense amount of adversity this season, and Zach Hyman doesn’t care.

He’s put his work boots on like always, and is ready for war. If the Maple Leafs begin to turn the tide, it will most certainly be Zach Hyman at the forefront leading by example.