NHL analyst Chris Johnston calls out Maple Leafs management for letting go of Zach Hyman 

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Florida Panthers at Edmonton Oilers
NHL analyst calls out Toronto Maple Leafs management for letting Zach Hyman walk amid Stanley Cup run (Image credit: Imagn)

Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman has been on an impressive run over the past two games. With the Oilers looking to become just the fifth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs, Hyman has risen to the occasion, notching goals in back-to-back games.

On Saturday morning, following Edmonton's big Game 6 win at home, The Athletic's Chris Johnston called out the Maple Leafs management for letting Hyman walk in free agency in 2021.

"Looking back, I'm not sure the #leafs have ever made a bigger mistake than letting Zach Hyman walk away. That's an all-timer the organization never recovers from," he wrote on X.

Hyman parted ways with his hometown team after six seasons. At the time, the Leafs were battling against the salary cap, leaving them without enough money to make Hyman the offer he deserved.

In free agency, Hyman signed a seven-year, $38.5 million contract with the Oilers that runs through the 2027–28 season. Now, he is competing in the Stanley Cup, while the Maple Leafs are in the midst of the offseason following a first-round playoff exit.

“The best decision of my life": Zach Hyman opens up on departure from Toronto

Many professional athletes dream about playing for their hometown teams, and Zach Hyman is no different. Earlier this month, during an interview with NHL.com, Hyman explained that, despite previously wanting to spend his entire career with the Leafs, the decision to join Edmonton was the best decision.

“Coming here was the best decision of my life. ... I’d have loved to be a Maple Leaf for life. I was from there, our families were from there. But when that door closed and Edmonton had shown interest all along, it was the place I wanted to come,” Hyman said via NHL.com.

Since joining the team, Hyman has not only found a home with the Oilers, but he has also elevated his play to the next level. In his first playoff run with Edmonton during the 2021–22 season, he became the first player to score a goal in every game of a playoff series during the famous Battle of Alberta.

This season, he joined Wayne Gretzky for the longest stretch (10) of home games with a goal. In addition, he joined Gretzky as the only player in Edmonton Oilers history to score 15 goals in 10 home games.

On Monday, Hyman and the Oilers will look to raise the Stanley Cup and cement their place in NHL history as just the fifth team to come back from a 3-0 deficit. Puck-drop for Game 7 is scheduled for 5 PM Pacific (8 PM Eastern).

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Edited by Krutik Jain
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