Maple Leafs at crossroads as Zach Hyman nears exit

Maple Leafs at crossroads as Zach Hyman nears exit

This one hurts, even if the impending split has been inevitable for some time now. Kyle Dubas may be able to find players with attributes that match what Zach Hyman brought to the Toronto Maple Leafs these last six seasons, but he won’t be able to find another Hyman. You simply don’t replace the unique combination of ability, effort, institutional knowledge and social capital that Hyman built up since arriving in a June 2015 trade with Florida -- the first Dubas orchestrated as an NHL general manager during the brief period where he held the interim title between Dave Nonis and Lou Lamoriello. Hyman marinated with other top organizational prospects in the American Hockey League. He made his NHL debut on the giddy night of Feb. 29, 2016 when the Leafs rewarded their fans during the rebuild by summoning William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov all at the same time. And over the intervening years he became one of their most trusted skaters, tasked with doing the dirty work alongside more skilled linemates while consistently setting a standard behind …
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