Toronto Maple Leafs: Zach Hyman Probably Isn’t Coming Back

Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be saying goodbye to Zach Hyman this summer, in all probability.

There is only one way in which the beloved winger comes back to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that is if he forgoes millions of dollars and long term security in order to sign a one-year extension to try and win here.

And why would he do that?

Hockey players have a very limited shelf life and facing decline and retirement before most of us are even at an age when we feel like we’re grown up.  Zach Hyman has one shot at a big contract, and if he wants to take it, he’s not going to be getting it here.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Zach Hyman

Zach Hyman is your typical Toronto Maple Leaf fan favorite – he’s something like the sixth or tenth best player on the team, but plays with a ton of heart and therefore is beloved out of all proportion to his skillset.

His career high is 21 goals and he turns 29 next week.  He has almost certainly peaked and had his best season.  He has one goal in his last 12 playoff games.  He is a very good complimentary player who has put up elite results when playing with elite players.

At under $3 million he was a bargain, and a perfect complimentary player.  But he also did his best work on the third line this year with Engvall and Mikheyev.

For $12 million dollars, Auston Matthews damn well better turn any winger into an elite performer.  No third line player is worth $5 million.  Hyman is  going to decline, and he’s going to be expensive.

Letting Zach Hyman go is like eating your vegetables – it is unpleasant, but necessary.  The Leafs have proven beyond any doubt that their wining depends on Matthews, Marner and Tavares.  Rielly, Nylander and Campbell all played amazing and they still lost.   Throw in Muzzin and Brodie, and Hyman is something like the team’s ninth best player.

With unlimited money, signing Hyman would have been a nice luxury.  But as it is, there is no way he’s coming back unless he himself gives the Leafs a massive discount. Do we really think he’s going to face down a seven years $35 million dollar deal on July 1st to stick with his friends for 88% less money?

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I don’t see it happening. I am a Hyman fan – he is a player that’s easy to love, and one who has exceeded all expectations.  He’s also the first player Kyle Dubas ever acquired and I’m sure he’d love to bring him back.  I just don’t see it happening.