The NHL trade rumors stirred on Thursday morning with reports from multiple Canadian outlets, first by TSN’s Daren Dreger. The Toronto Maple Leafs granted right-winger Zach Hyman permission to seek a rights trade rather than lose him to free agency. It essentially signaled a white flag in negotiations but opened the door for a pig-pile of teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s a reverse sign-and-trade. The player will likely be traded but not before negotiating a new contract with the acquiring team.
PHN can confirm the Penguins are among those teams vying for Hyman’s rights. Hyman will be an unrestricted free agent on July 28 if he is not signed by then. One benefit to the trade-and-sign deal, the acquiring team has the option to give an eight-year contract if inked before July 28, rather than the seven-year max contract of UFAs.
Building off the earlier reports and the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGrann, who first reported the Penguins’ interest on Thursday afternoon, PHN can also confirm the Penguins made more than a casual pass.
When asked if the Penguins were serious in their pursuit, the source with direct knowledge of the Penguins’ communications confirmed the Penguins’ earnest intent, “Yes…”
We’re unable to provide the rest of the quote without compromising the source.
Color me surprised.
The current process allows teams to discuss contract numbers with Hyman and his agent Todd Reynolds. The acquiring team must then complete the trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The early reports on Thursday, including from Dreger of TSN, rattled off the same teams: the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and Calgary Flames.
Later Thursday afternoon McGrann reported the Penguins were among nearly 10 teams that called. However, confirming the Penguins’ serious interest is another step forward and the first time the Penguins have been credibly linked to trade activity this week.
PHN cannot confirm if the Pittsburgh Penguins have yet made a formal offer to Toronto for Hyman’s rights or to Hyman on salary.
After signing Teddy Blueger on Wednesday, the Penguins are about $1 million over the salary cap, according to PuckPedia.com.
McGrann reported that at least one interested team offered Hyman’s camp a contract for more than $5 million per season, with an eight-year term. That raises the stakes for everyone.
Earlier, I gave this quote to PHN staff writer Chase Wilpert for the initial story, but the Penguins may prove me wrong.
“I can’t see it. Hyman’s cost will be above $5 million per season, and he wants eight years…He’s a right-winger, so you’re signing him to be a third liner or replacing Bryan Rust with a player who is older and not as good. Hyman is a gritty, net-front guy who would fit well right now, but he’s also a complimentary player, and an eight-year deal doesn’t sound like GM Ron Hextall’s cup of tea.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins top-nine is currently full at RW, including Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen, Brandon Tanev. Acquiring the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Hyman would certainly add some truculence, but it would also raise a few questions about the future of other Penguins’ RWs.
The expansion draft list is due by Saturday at 5 p.m. The list will be made public on Sunday. The Seattle Kraken expansion draft is next Wednesday, which is spurring the NHL trade market to “go to crazy,” according to one GM in our weekly “Off the Record” column.
PHN has debated which players the Penguins will protect, but the NHL trade winds can change plans, and a Penguins trade for Hyman may quickly change the Penguins’ plans. Brace for a surprise.
Hyman, 29, scored 21 goals in consecutive seasons before dipping to
18 15 in 43 games last season. His hit total averages more than one hit per game, and his totals in the last two 82-game schedules were 117 and 102, respectively.
The Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Detroit Red Wings are also teams that are reportedly interested.