Jason Gregor reported yesterday that Zach Hyman was in Edmonton to meet with the Oilers and it seems he liked what he saw.
According to Andy Strickland, the Oilers have reached two different deals with Hyman. One of them is a seven-year deal that the team would sign if he reaches unrestricted free agency in a few days. The other is an eight-year deal with a lower cap hit that’s contingent on the Toronto Maple Leafs agreeing to a deal that would trade the Oilers Hyman’s UFA rights.
This is a big addition for the Oilers. Hyman has endeared himself to Leafs fans over the years as a gritty, physical winger who never takes a shift off and isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice.
Though he was never a big-time prospect, the former fifth-round pick of the Florida Panthers worked his way up with the AHL Marlies, found a gig in the Leafs’ bottom-six when they were rebuilding, and then earned a top-six role once he found chemistry playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
Hyman’s role in Toronto’s top-six was to be the guy who forechecked, won puck battles, and crashed the net, ultimately opening up room for Matthews and Marner to operate in the offensive zone. This style of play will be an excellent fit alongside Connor McDavid.
In 2021, Hyman scored 15 goals and 33 points over the course of 43 games and had a 44-to-39 even-strength on-ice goal differential. He scored 21 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Now, of course, the term of the contract is something that needs to be mentioned. The reality with Hyman is that he plays a difficult, physical game and that takes a toll on a player’s body. He’s already dealt with a few injuries and has had surgery on his knee. The later parts of this deal are going to be a challenge, but, ultimately, the Oilers have found a player who makes them better in the short term, which is important when you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in their primes.
Here’s my pal Jon Steitzer from The Leafs Nation with his thoughts on Hyman…
“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.”