The Toronto Maple Leafs have a few key free agents scheduled to hit the open market later this month, with no one more important than Zach Hyman. The Toronto native has turned himself from a fifth-round afterthought into a legitimate top-six option, able to play both wings and score at a high rate. Hyman had 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games this season while also being a key member of the team’s top penalty-killing unit. That success should lead to a big raise this summer, but it appears as though the Maple Leafs and Hyman’s camp aren’t close on a number that works for both sides.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that there is a “sizeable gap in positions,” suggesting that Hyman will indeed hit the open market on July 28. The 29-year-old will likely be one of the top options for many teams looking for forward help because of his versatility, but that will also leave a pretty sizable hole in the Maple Leafs lineup. Of course, as with any of the free agents Toronto is dealing with, any contract before the expansion draft would put the team in a tough situation protection-wise.
- LeBrun also tweets out that there have been talks between the Maple Leafs and free agent netminder Frederik Andersen, but no contract offer to this point. Obviously, Toronto wouldn’t want to sign Andersen before the expansion draft, but it does appear as though he will at least test the market even though there is mutual interest for a reunion. The Maple Leafs frankly just don’t have the cap space to commit much money to Andersen if Jack Campbell is penciled in as the team’s starter, meaning he very well could be looking at a much more lucrative offer on the open market.
- While Hyman and Andersen represent core pieces that have been in Toronto for a while, there are many other unrestricted free agents on the Toronto roster who could be brought back as depth pieces. One of those is Zach Bogosian, who brought some stability to the third pairing for the Maple Leafs last season and is now a free agent once again at the age of 30. Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reports that though there have been talks between the two sides, it seems likely that Bogosian will test the open market as well, which makes a lot of sense for a player that earned just $1MM on his one-year deal in Toronto. Bogosian is still young enough to earn a multi-year deal, is coming off a Stanley Cup with the Lightning and a strong campaign with the Maple Leafs, and is that always-enticing mix of physical and right-handed. For a Maple Leafs team that can’t overspend on the margins, he may be priced out of their reach.