Many fans around the league will mock the Toronto Maple Leafs for losing Zach Hyman for nothing, but what they don’t realize is that they replaced him with a better player who made 5x less. (Yes, it’s true, Michael Bunting’s two years in Toronto were better than any year Hyman had with the Leafs).
Hyman was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers, but after four seasons playing with the University of Michigan he decided he was not going to sign with the Panthers and would become a free agent.
Instead of losing him for nothing, Florida traded him to Toronto for Greg McKegg who has bounced around the league playing a total of 233 NHL games, but he would have never factored into the Maple Leafs.
Like many other players on the list, Hyman was a late season call-up for the Maple Leafs in 2015-16 and impressed coach Mike Babcock.
After the organization drafted Auston Matthews the following summer, Hyman found himself stapled to the league’s best scorer for the next five seasons.
Toronto Maple Leafs fans would fall in love with the Toronto native due to his tenacity on the puck and no fear in the corners work. In his rookie season, Hyman would collect ten goals and 28 points then quickly signed a four-year extension for $2.25 Million per season.
During that contract, the children’s author would record back-to-back 40-point seasons and over the final three years of the contract he would average 28-goals over an 82-game schedule.
After the 2020-21 season Hyman became an unrestricted free agent and it appeared that their was mutual interest in coming back to Toronto, however the two sides couldn’t come close to what the Edmonton Oilers were offering.
With two major knees injuries to the hard-nosed winger, the city had to say goodbye to Hyman who signed a seven-year deal with the Oilers for $38.5 Million ($5.5 Million AAV).
Hyman has since showed the knee injuries are not to be concerned about and had his two best seasons of his career, including collecting 36-goals and 83-points this past year. The power forward has became a powerplay specialist collecting15-goals and 26-points with the man advantage this past year.
In Edmonton, Hyman has become arguably their team’s fourth best player behind Connor McDavid, Leon Draisiatl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Over the span of his two playoff years in Alberta, he has been almost a point per game player.
Losing Hyman was the biggest hit to the Maple Leafs of all the players.