Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman is in the midst of a career season offensively although he has now been slowed with a lower-body injury that will keep him out for a couple of weeks at least. Given his improvement in that end, his stock is on the rise as he gets set to enter the UFA market for the first time this summer. On the latest TSN Insider Trading segment, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic noted that a poll of several executives around the league pegged Hyman’s likely next contract anywhere between $4.5MM and $5.5MM, a significant raise on his current $2.25MM AAV. With Toronto already having nearly $70MM in commitments to just 15 players for next season, per CapFriendly, they may need to get creative to find a way to keep the 28-year-old in the fold and still be able to fill out the roster with what’s expected to be a flat $81.5MM salary cap once again.
Elsewhere in the North Division:
- At the beginning of the season, it was expected that the Canucks would bring top prospect Vasili Podkolzin over to North America at the end of his KHL season and have him burn the first year of his entry-level deal for the stretch run. However, his agent Sergey Isakov told Sport 24’s Maxim Samartsev that Podkolzin will instead stay in Russia and focus on earning a spot with their entry into next month’s World Championships. It’s a logical decision as by the time that Podkolzin secures a work visa and gets through quarantine, Vancouver’s season would be close to over if not finished already. The 20-year-old had 11 points in 35 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL this season.
- While Patrik Laine has struggled considerably with Columbus, Pierre-Luc Dubois hasn’t fit in all that well with the Jets either; his 20 points in 35 games are certainly below the expectations they had for him. Along the way, he has changed position a few times. However, head coach Paul Maurice told reporters, including Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun, that Dubois is being moved back to center for at least the next couple of weeks as they look to get their lines set for the playoffs. Dubois had been on the wing with Blake Wheeler out of the lineup and also started there but with the price that GM Kevin Cheveldayoff paid for him, it’s clear that they envision him as a middleman for the long-term future.