St. Louis Blues: Three Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agents To Consider

St. Louis Blues(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
St. Louis Blues(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Zach Hyman (11)Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Hyman (11)Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Zach Hyman

Zach Hyman doesn’t wow people, but he’s a worker with skill. That’s somewhat similar to what Jaden Schwartz provides the Blues, though Schwartz still arguably has a higher upside.

Schwartz gets you more points by quite a bit, but he only gets you about four to five extra goals per season at his high end. In terms of averages, Hyman only scores two fewer goals per season, but you’re sacrificing on the assists.

Hyman is more physical, registering a lot more hits, with three-straight 100-plus hit seasons prior to the pandemic. Schwartz’ high is 71.

The difference would mainly be the price. There is no telling what Hyman wants in free agency, but coming off a contract that only paid him $2.25 million, it would be a stretch to see him doubling that. So, you’re talking in the $3-4 million range for a guy that can score you 20 goals. That’s not terrible. Contrast that with Schwartz who never lives up to his offensive potential and might want something closer to Brayden Schenn money on his last, big contract.

Yet, none of this is to say the Blues should pick one over the other. In fact, adding Hyman to a team that included Schwartz might alleviate some of the scoring woes. It would not cure the Blues shallow scoring, but it would be a cost-controlled addition.

If anything, the comparison should be between Hyman and Zach Sanford (there’s a lot of Zach’s in this article). Sanford has not justified being in the top-six at all, yet he’s been given chance after chance to grab the proverbial brass ring.

I could easily see Hyman slotting into a second-line wing spot, with his contract not being large enough that you’d hesitate to drop him to the third line if other players step their game up.

Hyman actually averaged over 19 minutes per game the last two seasons, which is more than Schwartz (just saying for comparison sake).  Like Schwartz, Hyman is only 28, so he still has plenty of productive years in front of him.

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In an ideal situation with these players, you give up on Sanford, sign Hyman to a reasonable contract, bump Schwartz to $5.5 million, give Robert Thomas a small raise for a bridge contract and you would still have money left over to look into a higher end free agent. Of course, that’s assuming all those players accepted reasonable deals.

Nevertheless, while Hyman is not a game changer, he would fit the Blues well.