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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Flames among “frontrunners“ to sign Maple Leafs UFA Zach Hyman

The Calgary Flames are one of the frontrunners to sign 29-year-old winger Zach Hyman, Postmedia’s Kevin McGran reported Thursday afternoon.

McGran listed the Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks as the main suitors for the right-shooting forward, with numerous other teams in the mix.

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At least three NHL teams have made solid offers for Zach Hyman’s services since the Maple Leafs granted the pending unrestricted free agent the right to talk with other teams, the Star has learned.

The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are believed to be the frontrunners in the Hyman sweepstakes with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings also making inquiries with Hyman’s agent, Todd Reynolds.

The 29-year-old Hyman’s expressed wish is to remain a Maple Leaf and would offer the team a home-town discount so long as he could get a no-movement clause included in the new contract, opening up the opportunity of playing his entire career with Toronto.

Hyman scored 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games with Toronto in 2020–21. According to Evolving-Hockey, he ranked fifth on the Leafs with 7.8 expected goals above replacement and provided $5.6 million of value against a $2.25 million contract.

A two-time 20-goal scorer with the Maple Leafs, Hyman scored at a 28-goal, 63-point pace last season before adding one goal in seven playoff games. Evolving-Hockey projects his next contract as most likely being worth an average of $5.325 million over four years.

According to McGran, Hyman’s camp has received contract offers with more term.

It’s believed Hyman is looking for about $5 million a year, over eight years, to remain in Toronto. But now his camp is getting offers “north” of there, according to a source who was granted anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation.

Hyman is a physical forward who regularly kills penalties. He ranked third on the Maple Leafs with 0.88 individual expected goals-per-60 in 2020–21.

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Despite his current level of effectiveness, Hyman plays a heavy style and missed 13 games to injuries last season. Many of the most infamous free agents of the salary cap era signed long-term deals in their late 20s before quickly experiencing declines in their physicality and production.

David Clarkson, Milan Lucic, and Kyle Okposo all had some of their most successful NHL seasons immediately before signing long-term deals elsewhere. All three players heavily regressed by their age-30 campaigns.


Pre- and post-signing production of selected UFA forwards (expected goals above replacement figures from Evolving-Hockey)

Player Final season before UFA xGAR in final season before UFA Points-per-60 in final season before UFA Age-30 season xGAR in age-30 season Points-per-60 in age-30 season
David Clarkson 2012–13 +3.7 1.71 2014–15 -1.5 1.07
Milan Lucic 2015–16 +16.9 2.36 2018–19 -0.2 1.15
Kyle Okposo 2015–16 +10.6 2.67 2018–19 +2.1 1.62
Zach Hyman 2020–21 +8.2 2.38 2022–23 N/A N/A

If signed to an eight-year deal, Hyman would still have six years remaining on his contract after his age-30 season.

Hyman led all Maple Leafs forwards last year with an average of 1:58 of penalty-killing time per game. He’s represented by Todd Reynolds, a player agent who also negotiates on behalf of Buddy Robinson and Zac Rinaldo.

According to CapFriendly, Calgary currently has $13.625 million in projected cap space with nine forwards, four defensemen, and a goaltender under contract.

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2021 Flames UFA Targets

Tomas Tatar | Blake Coleman | Mikael Granlund