Toronto Maple Leafs Should Keep Zach Hyman Over Freddie Andersen

Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a tough decision to make this off-season. They will have to decide if they want to keep Frederik Andersen or Zach Hyman.

These are the two players who will eat up the most cap space if signed, so there is only room for one of them to stay beyond this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have just over $12.5 million available in cap space for next season according to

It will not be an easy decision to make, but unless Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas can clear out more cap space, one of these players will not be a Maple Leaf next season.

If you look at what each player making this season and estimate how much it will take to keep them in Toronto, the easy answer is to keep Hyman over Andersen.

Andersen Will Be Too Expensive For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Andersen is playing in the last year of his five-year deal which has a salary cap hit of $5 million a season. During his five years in Toronto, Andersen has recorded 260 wins (at the time of this writing) which have him sitting in 7th place in team history. With 11 more wins, he will pass Curtis Joseph and take hold of 5th place all-time.

As great as all those wins are, Andersen has yet to win a playoff series for Toronto. One can argue the fact that the team in front of him has not been great defensively, but at the end of the day, the stats are what they are.

Unless the Toronto Maple Leafs can win the Stanley Cup this season with Andersen in net, it will be hard to justify paying him $7 million or more towards the salary cap. Doing so would eliminate any chance of signing Hyman long-term and could even put a damper on plans for re-signing Morgan Rielly.

Andersen is currently 31 years old, so any new deal worth $7 million or more for longer than three years is a bad move. I have enjoyed having Andersen as the number one goaltender in Toronto, but I do think it would be wise to move on before his contract becomes a burden.

The Toronto Maple Leafs do have goaltenders Jack Campbell, Michael Hutchinson and Joseph Woll signed for next season. Both Campbell and Hutchinson have provided solid goaltending for Toronto this season.

Signing Hyman Should Be Top Priority For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Hyman is on the last year of his four-year deal with a $2.25 million cap hit. So far this season he has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 21 games. He is coming off of back-to-back 21 goal seasons and has been the workhorse for the team’s top six.

It is a fair assumption that Hyman’s agent will be asking for at least $4 million per season on Hyman’s next deal. If the Leafs do not re-sign Andersen, then this is not a problem for them. This will give the team more flexibility for next season and beyond.

Having Hyman on the team makes Toronto better. His ability to win puck battles and kill off penalties is top-notch. The Leafs would greatly miss him on this team if he’s not re-signed.

After next season, Rielly’s contract will be the team’s biggest concern. The more cap space leftover from signing Hyman over Andersen the better. Rielly will be looking for at least $6.5 million, but more likely closer to $7 million on a new deal.

Any amount over $7 million might be tough to do, but keeping Hyman over Andersen is a good start. The hope is that next season will see fans return to arenas in full attendance and that the revenue generated from that will increase the $81.5 million salary cap for the 2022-23 season.

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Time will tell which direction the Leafs choose to go, but in the long run, I think it would be better to move on from Andersen and focus on re-signing Hyman and Rielly.