The Success of Zach Hyman Another Gut Punch to the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Edmonton winger stated that his decision to leave Toronto was made for him. His comment, plus his success with the Oilers, make his exit even more difficult for Leafs fans to digest.
May 25, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers left winger Zach Hyman (18) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers in game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers left winger Zach Hyman (18) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers in game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Hyman Brings to Oilers What the Leafs Lack

The irony of Hyman's postseason goal-scoring prowess can't be lost on the Leafs. Toronto's offense has suffered greatly in past playoffs.

The biggest criticism of the Maple Leafs is that they do not go to the dirty areas to score goals. They lack a "net-front presence". Players who can tip pucks, battle opposing defensemen, and cash in rebounds.

Hyman excels at that. 10 of his 14 postseason goals have come from within ten feet of the net. Leafs fans are well aware of his determination and willingness to get involved on the forecheck or take abuse in front of the opposition's net.

Tyler Bertuzzi was the Leafs most similar player to Hyman from last season's roster. Bertuzzi struggled to score early but improved as the season progressed. He finished the year with twenty-one goals.

Bertuzzi earned $5.5 million, the same as Hyman made with the Oilers.

Hyman Signing a Clear Win For the Oilers

No debate that signing Hyman was a great move for the Oilers. He has provided everything and more that Edmonton could have expected from the signing.

Hyman has given the Oilers secondary scoring behind stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The play of those three along with Evan Bouchard, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Stuart Skinner is why Edmonton is playing for the Stanley Cup.

Should Hyman score five goals in the Stanley Cup Final he would tie the record (19) for most goals in a single playoff season. Score six and he would break the record co-held by Reggie Leach and Jari Kurri.

The move to Edmonton has worked out for Hyman, too. He is getting power-play opportunities he wouldn't have been presented with in Toronto.

He gets to receive passes from the best player on the planet, McDavid, along with the rest of the Oilers' all-star cast. He is counted on to play a bigger role than he had in Toronto.

Hyman stated it was "the best decision I ever made." That statement will sting the Leafs and their fans, even more, should the Oilers go on to win a title.