Toronto Maple Leafs: Adding Depth Over Hyman Was the Right Move

Toronto Maple Leafs latest signing Michael Bunting #58 of the Arizona Coyotes (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs latest signing Michael Bunting #58 of the Arizona Coyotes (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

This off-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs chose to add much-needed depth over re-signing Zach Hyman. Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas decided not to put all his eggs in one basket.

Kyle Dubas was willing to try and get Hyman to re-sign in Toronto, but only for the right price. That price is believed to have been no higher than $4 million annually.

Hyman ended up signing with the Edmonton Oilers for $5.5 million. That price was just simply too high for Toronto. With just $9.35 million in cap space, Dubas had to use his cap space wisely, and $5.5 million on Hyman didn’t make sense. (

Instead, Dubas was able to sign much-needed depth players for head coach Sheldon Keefe to use throughout his lineup.

Toronto Maple Leafs Added Depth

The Leafs strategy of paying their star players most of the salary cap (Brodie, Rielly, Muzzin, Holl and the goalies combine with the core to take up over $60 million) means that there is going to be a lot of roster turnover in depth positions year to year.

Once it was known that Hyman was going to sign with the Oilers, Dubas went out and signed as much depth as he could. First, he signed goaltender Petr Mrazek to work in tandem with Jack Campbell.

Next on the list for Dubas was to add scoring depth and forwards who can play a more defensive role. Players such as Nick Ritchie and Michael Bunting will likely compete for jobs to play in Toronto’s top six and provide added scoring depth.

Forwards such as David Kampf, Ondrej Kase, and Kurtis Gabriel will also be competing for jobs.  They will be used to shut down the opposition and to kill penalties.

Toronto Maple Leafs Used Their Cap Space Wisely

Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas was able to add Ritchie, Bunting, Kase, Kampf, and Gabriel for $6.95 million, most of which can be hidden in the minors if a player doesn’t make the cut.  If the team gave in to the demands by Hyman and his agent for $5.5 million, there would have been no room to add the much-needed depth.

Ritchie scored 15 goals last season, while Bunting scored ten goals. Playing on either of Toronto’s top two lines will improve those numbers. They will give Toronto more secondary scoring options. (Stats from

Kampf gives Toronto a player who can win defensive faceoffs and help kill penalties. Head coach Sheldon Keefe will rely on Kampf and Jason Spezza when it comes to faceoffs on penalty kills.

Buntin,  Gabriel and Ritchie add plenty of physicality to this team, something the Leafs maybe lacked in the past.

I think that Kyle Dubas has put together a very well-rounded hockey team. The Toronto Maple Leafs have goal scorers, penalty killers, faceoff specialists, a decent defensive group that only lost Zach Bogosian. This team can be both fast and physical, which are two ways to wear down their opponents.

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This team needed to replace Hyman, and has done so by committee, which gives the team a lower floor, but a lot of options. Let’s hope it works out and leads to better success in the playoffs.