If the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t at least start Zach Hyman’s next contract with a four, there’s no chance he extends with the team suggests TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. LeBrun spoke to a “half a dozen NHL front office executives” and canvassed them for a sense of what a Hyman extension will look like. For a team (Toronto) that doesn’t have a lot of money and has to worry about contracts for multiple players, the responses from these executives is not great.
Most Maple Leaf fans believe GM Kyle Dubas will do whatever it takes to get Hyman signed. Some have said, ‘they’ll just give him Andersen’s money.’ But, with Jack Campbell coming back down to Earth for the Leafs and David Rittich already struggling, it’s not a given that Toronto moves on from Frederik Andersen. This creates a problem for Toronto if the market rate for Hyman falls easily between $4.5 million and $5.5 million per season.
And, that LeBrun believes Hyman’s agent could try to use Montreal Canadiens’ winger Brendan Gallagher ($6.5 million annually) as a comparable, poses even bigger issues for the Maple Leafs. It’s not likely Hyman gets that kind of money, but if he’s asking for it, it suggests his “team friendly” contract won’t be as friendly as some in Leafs Nation assume it will.
Picture this scenario… the Leafs realize they don’t have a goalie they can rely on. They let Andersen and Rittich walk, but need to replace them with a starter to work alongside Jack Campbell. Because the team still isn’t sure what Campbell is, they can’t afford to spend less than a few million on a 1B. Then, imagine Hyman’s agent comes to you and says, ‘We know what his value is around the NHL. The deal needs to start with a 5 or we look elsewhere.’ That means likely letting most, if not all of Andersen, Rittich, Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, Nick Foligno, Jason Spezza, Ben Hutton, Zach Bogosian leave.
What Is Hyman Really Worth?
Is Hyman worth that for Toronto? Some will say yes. Others won’t be so sure. If keeping Hyman means losing your chance to really upgrade the goaltending and letting a good chunk of your team walk with only so much money to replace the pieces, then what? Or, if it means moving William Nylander, do you do so?
Remember, while fans are quick to argue that Hyman doesn’t want to play anywhere else (and he may not), they need to acknowledge that NHL careers are not all long like Patrick Marleau’s. Hyman just got nailed with an injury that could have been much worse than it is. Does the player really want to give up his first big opportunity to capitalize on cashing in while he can?
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