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Zach Hyman has permission to talk to other teams

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The obvious is now explicit: Zach Hyman will leave in free agency.

Toronto Maple Leafs fall to the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in game seven in the first round of the NHL play-offs Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

It’s been understood for some time that, with the likelihood of Zach Hyman getting at least double his current salary as a UFA, that he was too rich for the Leafs’ blood.

All the talk about the Leafs supposedly making offers to Hyman and his graceful decline are about the respect the team and Hyman have for each other. This has been described as a divorce where both people still love each other, and I think that’s true. If you want to see the player who loves the Leafs like you do — enough to be the most honest in post game interviews about if they just needed the bounces or not — this is the man.

It’s fitting, then, that he leaves the team accorded this respect. He can now discuss his future contract with anyone, but he cannot sign a deal unless that team wishes to trade for his rights.

To be clear, if a team trades for his rights, they may not sign him for eight years. The silly idea Dreger is referring to above is a thing insiders love like you love offer sheets. It’s the idea where the Leafs would sign an eight-year deal with Hyman and then trade him in a deal worked out ahead of time.

They aren’t doing this.

If Hyman chooses Seattle, he can sign with them during their advance window and that would count as the Seattle choice from the Leafs. Assuming, for speculative purposes, both sides want to do a deal, the Leafs would have to give Seattle an incentive to make that happen, because he would count as their choice from the Leafs. They could, of course, just wait until July 28.

Once free agency opens at noon on July 28, Hyman can sign with any team for seven years or less.

Hyman was drafted in the fifth round at 123rd overall by Florida in 2010. He chose the OJHL and the NCAA over the OHL. After his breakout year at the University of Michigan playing with Dylan Larkin, Florida traded him to the Maple Leafs for Greg McKegg. Toronto got a conditional seventh-round pick in the deal if Hyman didn’t sign with them.

After 59 games on the Marlies, Hyman became a fulltime Maple Leaf for five seasons, scoring 86 goals and recording 99 assists in 345 NHL games. He had 32 playoff games played with five goals and eight assists.

Noted for his net-front tenacity, Hyman is an offence maker, influencing how much time a team spends in the offensive zone, how many shots they have, and how good they are.

He averaged 17.6 minutes per game for the Maple Leafs, and ranked just outside the core forwards in measures of offensive impact. His total career earnings to date are $10,181,250.

Evolving Hockey has his most-likely projected contract at four years and $5.3 million. Their contract prediction tool shows an AAV of over $6 million on a seven-year term.

His last goal as a Maple Leaf is everything he is as a player.

UPDATE:

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 Star

Three of these offers are solid, according to their sources.