As the NHL’s return to play inches closer each day, the Toronto Maple Leafs are filling out their opening night lineup. One name that has been absent for the team’s last few practices is Zach Hyman, who went down after blocking a shot from Jason Spezza on Friday. Fortunately, Hyman rejoined the Leafs’ main practice on Tuesday, saying he felt great.
Zach Hyman on his return to the ice: "It feels great to back, felt like it was longer than a couple of days mentally. Took a shot there [on Friday] so it was just precautionary, but I'm feeling good."
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 21, 2020
During his absence, Nick Robertson found himself filling Hyman’s spot alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander. Although Robertson played very well during the team’s scrimmages, Hyman’s return is hugely beneficial to the Leafs.
Hyman already found himself back in his usual spot on the first line during practice, skating with Matthews and Mitch Marner. The fact that he felt it was longer than a couple of days just proves how eager he is to get these playoffs going. His return increases the Leafs depth and ensures a healthy roster for the play-in round. As for Robertson, the hungry young gun vying for a roster spot has been placed on the third line, giving Sheldon Keefe more flexibility with his wingers.
Some tweaks to the Leafs top two lines today, as well as D pairings:
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) July 21, 2020
Here’s to hoping Hyman is ready to perform during the upcoming play-in round. Although he was held to just 51 games this season due to injury troubles, he was on pace for his best season yet, scoring 21 goals and 37 points during that short span.