Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman Is a Modern Day Pascal Dupuis

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 17: Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 17: Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been compared to the last decade’s Pittsburgh Penguins teams and it’s easy to see why.

When you think of an individual on the Toronto Maple Leafs who puts his hard-hat on and goes to work everyday, you think of Zach Hyman.

After reading that sentence, it’s incredibly hard not to read that in Mike Babcock’s voice.

Anyway, Hyman has been an important piece to the Leafs organization, ever since the team acquired him in a trade in June, 2015.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Zach Hyman

The Leafs traded former third round pick Greg McKegg for the former fifth round pick Hyman. McKegg had a lot of potential when the Leafs drafted him having been one of the league leaders in points in the Ontario Hockey League, compared to Hyman who played Major Junior A and went down the NCAA path instead.

Hyman’s decision to go to the University of Michigan was the right one, especially after being nominated as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in his final year of school. Even with some credibility to his name, the Panthers decided to part ways with Hyman, trading him to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After joining the Leafs organization, Hyman only played one season on a stacked Toronto Marlies team before getting called up to the Leafs full-time.

Currently in his fourth full season with the team, we’ve seen what Hyman brings every night. As much as it was easy to criticize former head coach Babcock for his cheesy comments, he was definitely right about his assessment of Hyman.

After doing some research and looking at past Stanley Cup champions, it became clear that I’d seen Hyman before. Obviously not him exactly but a player that played with a hard-hat and was a compliment to their team’s star player.

That player who was so comparable to Hyman is Pascal Dupuis.

When Dupuis joined the Penguins in 2008, he was an average player who worked hard, but the Penguins didn’t expect much from him. Similar to Hyman when he joined the Leafs, there was absolutely no expectations for him, and to be honest, that’s still particularity true.

Despite low expectations, the Penguins found chemistry by putting Dupuis on a line with Sidney Crosby. As the glue-guy with Crosby, everything clicked.

In an article from Pensburgh.com, Dupuis’ game was described just like Hyman’s.

"Dupuis provided years of stability and steady play for the Penguins. He was a simple, honest, hard-working player that was reliable on a team full of stars that often seemed to be too flashy and try to take too many shortcuts in the post-Cup Bylsma days."

Even the stats compare similarly:

Pascal Dupuis:

  • 2008-09: 18 Goals, 38 points (81 games)
  • 2009-10: 17 goals, 37 points (81 games)
  • 2010-11: 25 goals, 59 points (82 games)
  • 2011-12: 20 goals, 38 points (48 games)

Zach Hyman:

  • 2016-17: 10 goals, 28 points (82 games)
  • 2017-18 10 goals, 28 points (82 games)
  • 2018-19: 21 goals, 41 points (71 games)
  • 2019-20: 21 goals, 37 points (51 games)

Both players have two 20-goal seasons, but their most similar year is Hyman’s current year and Dupuis’ Lock-Out shortened season, as both players were on-pace for 34 goals in an 82-game campaign.

Hyman’s had the opportunity of playing with John Tavares and Auston Matthews over his tenure, and although they’re not Sidney Crosby, those are two of the closest skilled center’s in the NHL.

Similar to Dupuis, neither player would ever be able to carry a line, but their hard-work and will to get the puck is so important when playing with offensive weapons.

Both Dupuis and Hyman scored 40-plus goals and had 100-point seasons in their junior career, so they’re gifted players, but at the NHL-level, it’s been their Hockey IQ and hard-work that has contributed to their success.

Playing on a line with some of the most talented players in NHL history isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need a smart player who will be in the right places to benefit from a Sidney Crosby or Auston Matthews no-look pass or someone who put their body on the line in-front of the net to bang home a rebound.

Next. Top 5 Most Underrated Maple Leafs of All-Time. dark

Dupuis was crucial for the Penguins winning a Stanley Cup, and I have a feeling that Hyman will be as well.