How to fill the Hyman hole? Can the Maple Leafs fit in Hamilton?
Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star: (mailbag) Comparables for Zach Hyman on the open market could be Brendan Gallagher ($6.5 million) and Kevin Hayes ($7.1 million).
Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas could move the contracts of Mitch Marner or Morgan Rielly and use some of that savings towards Hyman. Maybe Pierre Engvall or Ilya Mikheyev step up and fill Hyman’s role next year. The Leafs could look at signing Tampa Bay Lightning pending UFAs Barclay Goodrow and/or Blake Coleman.
Luke Fox of Sportsnet: Dougie Hamilton is looking for a long-term deal at maybe over $8 million a season. If he’s able to get an eight-year deal, maybe the number starts with a seven.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs were to be in Hamilton, they’d need to move out salary. That would need to happen even with Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen leaving in free agency and possibly losing Alex Kerfoot in the expansion draft.
Morgan Rielly might have to be the player the Leafs would have to move to fit in Hamilton’s contract. Rielly has a year left on his contract and it may be a situation worth exploring.
Chris Johnston on Sportsnet 590 on how the Maple Leafs may not try to find just one player to replace Hyman.
“I think what it kind of does is set up interesting philosophical questions for them in the off-season.I don’t think it’s a matter of trying to sign one player that does all the things Zach Hyman did.
“It allows them maybe to move towards, I doubt this decision is even made, but perhaps you could look for a different balance in your lineup. Maybe it’s a somewhat weaker third player on the top line if you keep Matthews and Marner together. It might allow them to sign two players and achieve maybe a bit better balance through the lineup.”
Jason Spezza has re-signed, but they could look to fill out their bottom-six with some younger players.
“There’s probably some room to try some 25-, 26-year-old free agents who have fallen through the cracks elsewhere and look to find players that can be as effective as Hyman who just haven’t earned that reputation yet.”