Detroit Red Wings: Free Agent Zach Hyman seems like a perfect fit

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings should sign forward Zach Hyman this summer.

It seems Hyman’s time in Toronto is coming to an end.  According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, the two parties have not engaged in any contract talks.

The well in Toronto can only supply so many mouths before the money dries up.  With Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, and William Nylander earning the vast majority of the team’s cap; others such as Hyman are forced to fall to the wayside.

Zach Hyman and the Detroit Red Wings seem like a perfect fit for multiple reasons.

First off, it would be basically a second homecoming for the 29-year old forward.

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It was surely a dream come true for Hyman to play for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. Still, the forward is expected to sign elsewhere this summer as the Leafs are tight against the cap and will not be able to make a fair market value offer in hopes of re-signing their gritty forward.

Hyman had been initially drafted by the Florida Panthers in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Level Draft but saw his first NHL action with the Leafs in the 2015-16 season, as a 23-year old.

The former product of the Michigan Wolverines plays the wing and would complement Robby Fabbri and Filip Zadina nicely on the second line. Hyman spent four years with Michigan before heading to the NHL.  In his senior season, Hyman recorded 22 goals totaling 54 points in 37 contests with the Wolverines.

Hyman’s game somewhat mirrors Tyler Bertuzzi.  Both forwards tend to be the ‘worker bee’ of their line, working almost exclusively in the dirty areas on the ice and retrieving the puck down low, trying to get it onto the stick of the more genuine offensively gifted forwards before heading to the front of the net.

That’s not to say Bertuzzi or Hyman is not offensively gifted; they just tend to score the majority of their goals in a different fashion, unlike, say, Auston Matthews or what we saw from Jakub Vrana in a Wings uniform last season.

The 29-year old has been very consistent over the past four seasons, with the Leafs scoring 72 goals totaling 151 points in 247 games.  He’s often skated on the top line alongside Matthews and Marner.

Hyman is expected to fetch a new contract that ranges between $5-6 million annually per season.  It’s pretty big money for a guy who has averaged 18 goals per season over the last four, but he’s a productive character guy, and we all know how much GM Steve Yzerman loves these types of personalities.

If Hyman’s cap figure does indeed come in that range I have projected, Yzerman should only offer a three-year deal, understanding Hyman is nearing the wrong side of 30.  If another team comes in with the same cap number but with a five or six-year term, so be it, and good luck.

The Detroit Red Wings have plenty of cap space, an estimated $48-million according to Cap Friendly.  That doesn’t mean they should spend foolishly in free agency but adding one impactful piece up front, one on the backend, and a starting goaltender should be prioritized this summer.

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Detroit also owns an abundance of draft capital, two choices in round one, three in round two, plus two choices in rounds three, four, and five of the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft.