It now seems a forgone conclusion that the Toronto Maple Leafs will lose veteran forward Zach Hyman when free agency opens up on the 28th of July and he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent, and for some time there has been an indication that the Edmonton Oilers could be his eventual destination as a free agent.
This week as rumors linking Hyman to Edmonton appeared to pick up steam, there was talk of a potential sign and trade between the Maple Leafs and the Oilers. The rumors made a lot of sense from both sides, from the Oilers perspective getting Hyman signed for 8 years instead of 7 would allow them to bring down his average annual value and hit against the cap and in the case of the Maple Leafs it would see them get some small return for Hyman instead of losing him for nothing.
That sign and trade would now appear to be dead in the water however, with the first sign coming from National Hockey League insider Darren Dreger earlier today when he reported that the Leafs were squeezing the Oilers for a return in a sign and trade.
I can certainly see the perspective of Leafs' management here, why help an opposing franchise take away an important part of your core? It also means however that they will lose any chance of getting a return for Hyman before he walks away as a free agent.
On Saturday night Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas all but confirmed the rumors that have swirled over the weekend when he shared his reasoning for why a potential sign and trade involving Hyman would have fallen apart.
"I know that there’s a narrative that we should just get something, but when you’re saving a team significant dollars on the salary cap that comes with a cost, and we’re not going to bend on that," said Dubas as per NHL insider Chris Johnston.
Without knowing exactly how much the Oilers would save or what the Leafs were asking for in return it's impossible to gauge who the biggest loser in this stalemate is. There is still time before free agency however so perhaps either Dubas or Oilers general manager Ken Holland will have a last minute change of heart.