Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Zach Hyman should be allowed to walk in free agency
The Leafs have been in this situation before where the team had a player they would like to keep but the chance to test free agency was tough to turn down.
In his final season in Toronto, James van Riemsdyk had his most productive season scoring 36 goals in 81 games. As a pending free agent, he landed a five-year, $35 million contract ($7M cap hit) with the Philadelphia Flyers which is not a deal you turn down especially with a team you are familiar with.
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Now, van Riemsdyk could be on his way out as the Flyers could choose to expose him in the expansion draft. The cap hit isn’t an easy one for some teams but he only has two years left and has been able to produce.
So how does this relate to Hyman? Well, teams will look at what Hyman has provided the Leafs and believe that with the right offer, he can be tempted to consider leaving Toronto.
There is certainly a tier of players Hyman can be compared to and if he is offered anything north of $5 million, it would be surprising to see the Leafs match it. You wonder if that’s what Hyman’s game plan will be going into the off-season, see what the market has to offer and give the Leafs one last chance to make a deal.
What Leafs fans should also realize is that there are some players worth considering as alternatives to Hyman who might actually be cheaper. Would it make more sense to pursue players like Blake Coleman, Jaden Schwartz, Mikael Grandlund, and Barclay Goodrow, Mattias Janmark?
Those names might not all sound like better options than Hyman but they should come at a lower price tag. Let’s also consider that Toronto will also be in the market for another goalie and should be trying to get another defenceman especially with Morgan Rielly in the last year of his deal
The Leafs cannot get too focused on bringing back Hyman when there are other needs the address and such a limited amount of cap space available to make it work.
Should the Leafs make it a priority to sign Hyman this off-season? How much would you be comfortable paying him? Let us know in the comments below.