Toronto Maple Leafs: Letting Zach Hyman Walk an Easy Decision

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 have to part ways with Zach Hyman.

Though I’ve wavered from time to time (due to my being a huge fan) it’s pretty much been clear for a couple of years that the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t likely be signing Zach Hyman again once his deal expired.

The reasons are pretty obvious: He is approaching 30, is injury prone, has more than likely already had his best season, and historically, signing such players is a disaster.

On top of avoiding that disaster, one of your 30 rivals will commit to it, which will help you slightly in the long run.  Win-win.

Zach Hyman Isn’t a Huge Loss

The loss of Zach Hyman is being overrated.

Here is a list of players on the Leafs who are better and contribute more than he does: Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, T.J Brodie, Jake Muzzin and Jack Campbell.

If you can’t survive the  loss of your 10th best player, there’s  something seriously wrong.  Look, I get that everyone loves Zach, but he’s the fifth best forward on the team and his great stats are very much owing to constantly getting on the ice with elite players.

Instead of paying a guy after you’ve turned him into a star, it’s better to let him walk rather than  overpay him, especially if he is in decline, which 100% of 29 year-old grinders are.

The fact is that Marner and Matthews should be more than capable of helping any half-way decent player post the 1st line numbers of a star player.  It’s not inconceivable that they could do it with a player on an ECL – i.e someone making half of Hyman’s current salary (which in itself is a huge bargain).

While it’s not exactly a guarantee to find another Hyman, sticking a high-energy grinder with two superstars isn’t exactly a novel ideal, and the Leafs shouldn’t have too much trouble replicating it.

Hyman, assuming he won’t be back, finishes his Leafs career with 345 games played and 185 points, putting him 82nd all time on the Leafs scoring list, which is  Jonas Hoglund territory, so maybe let’s all just relax a bit here. (Hogie played way less games too). (

I like Hyman, but he’s being way overrated by a fan base who continues to love grinders over skill.  The only way the Toronto Maple Leafs should want to bring back Hyman is if he decides to MacKinnon himself and sign for half his value.  Given that his family is independently wealthy (ironic, given his blue-collar image) this might a slight possibility.

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Otherwise, it won’t really be that hard to let him go.