Oilers’ Zach Hyman: ‘I’d have loved to be a Maple Leaf for life’

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers are getting set to take on the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final. He’s morphed into an elite goal-scorer and one of the NHL’s best offensive threats. It’s the culmination of his career to date but there’s plenty of attention about his past stops.
Hyman made it pretty clear that he never wanted to leave the Toronto Maple Leafs in a recent interview with NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger.
“It wasn’t about money,” Hyman said about his decison to join the Oilers in July 2021. “I’d have loved to be a Maple Leaf for life. I was from there, our families were from there. But when that door closed and Edmonton had shown interest all along, it was the place I wanted to come.”
Hyman signed a seven-year contract worth $38.5 million with the Oilers, which includes a no-movement clause for the first five years of the deal. Playing alongside Connor McDavid, while transforming into a superstar, Hyman is certainly in no rush to exercise the clause now.
During Friday’s media availability, Hyman implied that the decision was out of his control.
Hyman scored 54 goals during the regular season, surpassing his previous career-high of 36, and he’s kept the production up when the games matter most. Edmonton’s star winger has recorded 14 goals in 18 games throughout the playoffs and continues to be an impact player on both sides of the puck.
“Every year I’ve progressed somewhat,” Hyman said of his ascension from role player to star. “When I first came up into the League with Toronto, I wasn’t playing minutes, I wasn’t playing power play, I just wanted to stay in the lineup. I did some penalty killing. And when I did start playing with skilled players like Auston (Matthews) and Mitch (Marner), my job was to get the puck and get it to the skilled players, then go stand in front of the net.”
It’s a tough blow to Leafs fans who never wanted to see Hyman leave and now get to watch him and the Oilers inch closer to hoisting the Stanley Cup — which hurts even more as the Leafs haven’t come close since his departure.
What may even be a tougher pill to swallow was the fact that while Kyle Dubas walked away, with a ton of speculation around Hyman’s cap hit and the team’s cap space, the Leafs’ GM decided to shift his flexibility towards signing goaltender Petr Mrazek, forwards Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, David Kampf and Michael Bunting. Kampf is the only player left from this group on the Maple Leafs. Kase and Ritchie aren’t even in the league anymore and Mrazek’s tenure in Toronto was a disaster.
Hyman meanwhile has been a pillar for the Oilers and one of their most complete players over the past three seasons, posting 214 points in 235 games and almost a point-per-game in the postseason.
Edmonton are getting the most of its 2021 free-agent signing and Hyman continues to make Oilers GM Ken Holland look like a genius. Dubas is of course, no longer with the Maple Leafs and now all of Leafs Nation get to watch from afar as Hyman and the rest of the Oilers are four wins away from winning the Stanley Cup.

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