In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll comment on the news that Zach Hyman is potentially leaving and Frederik Andersen is potentially staying. Honestly, there’s nothing to take to the bank – literally – on either of these bits of news; however, it does suggest that there are tons of rumors floating around.
It really won’t be long before Maple Leafs’ fans will have a better insight about what next season’s roster will look like. Until then, I’ll try to help fans stay more up-to-date on what’s happening with the team.
Item One: Is Zach Hyman Really Headed to Another Team?
If you read my posts, you know where I stand on this question; and, despite all the evidence, I still stand there – albeit I’m feeling a bit more alone each day. I believe Zach Hyman will re-sign with Toronto. However, according to hockey insider Pierre LeBrun, Hyman seems to be on his way toward the free agent market and to another team. We’ll know more after July 28; and, according to LeBrun things can obviously change.
Still, right now it seems that Hyman and the Maple Leafs are so far apart on their positions that the space between the two might be difficult to span. As LeBrun suggests in his twitter, there’s still a “sizeable gap” in the positions of both sides with free agency only about two weeks from today. LeBrun’s speculation is that it looks like Hyman might be playing for another team other than Toronto next season.
If that’s the case, the Edmonton Oilers have been rumored to be interested in the hard-working forward. Hyman would be a valuable player for any team.
Item Two: Could Frederik Andersen Be Staying with the Maple Leafs?
LeBrun also reported that former starting goalie Frederik Andersen and the Maple Leafs have been engaged in talks about a new contract. Similar to Hyman, Andersen will become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 28. If there’s a chance that Andersen would be willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Maple Leafs, that would be great for the team. I’m wondering if there might be a sense of unfinished business with this team and the way that the 2020-21 season ended. I have to believe both the organization and the players expected more than they delivered.
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Given the timing of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft in exactly one week, Maple Leafs’ fans are unlikely to hear anything for that time. Certainly, nothing will likely be reported until then. Unless Andersen is completely committed personally to stay with the Maple Leafs, it also makes sense for him and his agent to get all the information they can before he signs anywhere. That likely means that Andersen will test the waters to see what’s out there for him in free agency.
Andersen’s in an unusual bargaining position. No one can say that he’s not been a solid goalie for the team during the five seasons he’s played in Toronto. Still, he has two strikes against him. Strike one is that he never was able to deliver a playoff series victory. Strike two is that he’s coming off an injury-filled 2020-21 season, where he posted a 13-8-3 record, with a goals-against-average of 2.96 and a save percentage of .895.
It must be a tough decision for Andersen. If he leaves the team, it’s likely he’d be a starter. If he returns to the Maple Leafs, not only will he probably have to accept a pay cut but he’d also probably start the season either sharing the net with Jack Campbell or even backing up Campbell. Campbell had nothing but a great season with Andersen unable to carry the load.
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
Within the week, on July 17 to be specific, the Maple Leafs must submit its list of protected players. That list will be announced on July 18. For me, it will be an interesting choice to see if Alex Kerfoot will be on it. Or Justin Holl; or, Travis Dermott. Or will there be a surprise?
As I’ve said often, I enjoy speaking with fans, both in the “Conversation” section of the posts and in person. By the way, the Blue and White nation expands across Canada. I’m not the only Maple Leafs’ fan who lives on Vancouver Island. I was speaking with Jordan today from Qualicum who suggested that, if Hyman wants too much money, the team should try to sign Blake Coleman as a cheaper alternative and see if Joey Anderson can make the roster out of camp.
Lots of people care – across Canada – about this team and its make-up for next season. I’m excited for the next two weeks.