The Edmonton Oilers have officially signed Zach Hyman to a seven-year contract with an AAV of $5.5-million.
Hyman has spent the last six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs scoring 86 goals and 185 points.
The Oilers have been in conversations with Hyman for some time and brought him to Edmonton for a visit, a move that signaled serious interest. From the start of the process, the Oilers and Hyman seemed linked at the hip with very little chance of any other team entering the picture.
Hyman’s contract includes a full no-movement clause that will carry through the first five years of the contract, while the sixth and seventh year will include a modified no-trade clause, as first reported by PuckPedia.
His contract, according to PuckPedia, breaks down like this:
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Year 1 – $1.55-million salary, $1-million signing bonus
Year 2 – $5.1-million salary
Year 3 – $7.65-million salary
Year 4 – $7.7-million
Year 5 – $5.425-million salary, $1-million signing bonus
Year 6 – $2.175-million salary, $3-million signing bonus
Year 7 – $2.65-million salary, $1.25-million signing bonus
The contract includes signing bonus’ late in the deal but offers the team the flexibility to buyout the final two years of the deal, should they decide to go that route, according to PuckPedia. If the Oilers bought out the final year of his deal, it would save them $1.77-million in cap space followed by a $883k cap hit the following year. If the Oilers bought out the final two years of Hyman’s contract, they would save $1.37-million in year one, $1.85-million in year two and would incur cap hits of $804k for the following two years.
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But enough about the end of his contract, let’s look at what Hyman will provide the Edmonton Oilers over the length of the deal.
His most common linemates with the Leafs were elite talents in the likes of Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Auston Matthews, and the expectation is Hyman will come to Edmonton and play alongside Connor McDavid on the Oilers top line.
At 5×5, Hyman scored 2.14 points per hour last year, 1.83 in 2019-20 and 1.96 in 2018-19. Among Oilers forwards, that would rank 3rd, 6th, and 3rd, respectively.
Hyman has consistently been a strong driver of play, even away from the elite talents that were mentioned above. Last year at 5×5 with Hyman on the ice, the Leafs controlled 52.26 percent of the shot attempts, 66.67 percent of the goals scored and 59.95 percent of the expected goals.
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At 6’1, 209 lbs., Hyman is a big body who plays a gritty, physical but quick style of play in line with the type of hockey that is seen in the league in 2021. On top of that, Hyman has a shoot-first mentality that helped to complement the elite talent he’s played with over his career.
It’s been suggested that Hyman, who is also a very strong penalty killer, is a peripheral player who simply rode the coattails of those high-end talents and is now going to cash in during free agency. I’m not so sure that’s the case. He’s been a strong scorer during his career and over the last three seasons was on the ice for 53.6 percent of the expected goals when not playing with Matthews, Marner or Tavares.
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Interestingly enough, Hyman has never really played on the powerplay with the Leafs. Over the last three seasons, Hyman has averaged just 51 seconds of time on ice per game, ranking 16th among Leafs forwards during that time. This past year he saw a good uptick in playing time there getting 1:32 per game, but that still was the seventh most among Leafs forwards.
Sure, Hyman’s career-high in points is just 41 points, but the fact only 11 of his 185 career points came on the power play could explain that. It’s reasonable to expect that his point totals would see an uptick given a shot to play on the Oilers top powerplay unit.
Term is obviously a concern given the track record of long-term deals signed in free agency, but The Athletic’s Jonathan Willis wrote last week about how a comparable player to Hyman is Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvist is a player who plays a similar style of game to Hyman as a “stocky, hard-working, right-shooting forward who excels on the forecheck and in puck retrievals.” As Willis noted, Hornqvist, who is now 34, has consistently scored at a top-six 5×5 pace.
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All in all, the Hyman signing is a massive move that I think will pay off dividends for the Oilers down the road. If Edmonton is able to get five years strong years out of Hyman, I think this is a deal you can call a win for the team.
We also caught up with TheLeafsNation editor Jon Steitzer, who had this to say about Hyman’s game:
Congratulations Oilers fans on your acquisition of Zach Hyman. On behalf on Leafs Nation we can honestly say you are getting one of our favourite players, one who never takes a shift off, and one who thrives in a complimentary role to superstars, and I hear you have a couple of those.While Hyman primarily has the reputation as a guy who bangs in Matthews rebounds, retreives pucks for guys who think that job is beneath them, it’s important to note that Hyman is a very capable puck carrier, and was probably better than Marner when it comes to zone entries last season. He also has some speed despite his increasingly damaged knees.Hyman was one of the Leafs best penalty killing options, and a guy you want out there in the final minutes of a close game, and that’s why his empty net goal total should be viewed as a positive not an asterisk on his overall goal totals. He’ll be a great player for you (when he’s healthy) and you’ll love him (if you can separate the player from the contract.)As an Edmonton based Leafs fan, this has worked out perfectly for me because I will still get Zach Hyman in my life.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]