We haven’t even reached the official announcement of Seattle’s Expansion Draft picks and today has already been completely wild.
There’s been news about Adam Larsson nearing a deal with the Kraken, Mike Smith coming back to Edmonton on a two-year deal, and now there’s word that the Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs are exploring a sign-and-trade deal with Zach Hyman.
Earlier today, Jason Gregor reported that Hyman was in Edmonton meeting with the Oilers. Shortly after that, Chris Johnston added that the Oilers and Leafs could be working out a deal in order for Edmonton to acquire Hyman’s free agency rights so he can be signed to a max-term, eight-year contract.
Hyman has been an effective forward in Toronto’s top-six over the past few years. Originally a fifth-round pick of the Florida Panthers, Hyman came up through the Leafs’ system as an under-the-radar prospect, shadowed by larger names such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.
He broke into the league in 2016-17 with a 10-goal season but established himself as a consistent top-six producer after that. In four years since his rookie season, Hyman has scored 72 goals and 151 points over 247 games. Most recently, he put up 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games in 2021.
Hyman would be a nice complementary winger alongside either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. With the Leafs, Hyman carved out a niche as the power-forward who played alongside Matthews, forechecking effectively, going to the dirty areas of the ice, and crashing the net. He has good speed and an ability to score goals, something the Oilers clearly need to add to the roster this summer.
The worry with Hyman, and, ultimately the reason the Leafs seem comfortable letting him walk, is how he’ll age over a long-term deal. Hyman turned 29 years old in June and plays a style of hockey that results in a significant amount of wear-and-tear on his body. Back in 2019-20, Hyman missed a good chunk of time due to a leg injury. He also had surgery that off-season in order to repair a torn ACL.
There’s no doubt that Hyman is a strong contributor, but it’s difficult to say how long he can be effective given his style of play. Father time tends to be hard on this type of player.