The Chicago Blackhawks have freed up some more cap space recently and could look to make somewhat of a splash in free agency.
With the recent trade of Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks have even more room to work with heading into the offseason. There is reason to believe, then, that Chicago could look to ink a few new faces to contracts in an effort to help rebuild the team.
Most of the chatter has been surrounding the back end, and in particular, whether or not the team could trade for Seth Jones or perhaps sign Dougie Hamilton. Obviously, defense is the most pressing issue for the ‘Hawks right now, and if they’re going to spend a large chunk of change on any one player, it’s probably going to be a d-man.
However, I think that there is actually a free agent forward that the team could use to help bolster their size upfront: Toronto Maple Leafs left winger Zach Hyman. Given what the 29-year-old could bring to the team, I think it’s worth taking a look at him.
The winger would bring something to the Blackhawks that the team desperately needs: physicality and size. At 6’1 and 210 pounds, Hyman would become one of the team’s bigger forwards. Additionally, he has become well-liked by the fans in Toronto due to his willingness to dish out big checks. Over his six years NHL career, he’s registered 480 hits, and has no problem getting into battles when along the boards or chasing down a loose puck.
Beyond this, though, Hyman has proven to be a respectable offensive talent. He has a sweet wrist shot and has put up 86 goals and 99 assists throughout his time with the Leafs, in addition to 13 playoff points. All in all, he has shown that he can not only throw his weight around, but also knows how to light the lamp.
So what would it take for the ‘Hawks to sign Hyman? Per CapFriendly, he’s coming off of a four-year contract with an average annual value of $2.5 million. Chicago’s current cap space is listed at just under $10.5 million. Obviously, if the team were to try and acquire more than one player, they’d want to keep the large contracts to a minimum. However, I don’t think it would be a bad idea for the Blackhawks to try and entice Hyman with a contract around $2.8 to $3 million, or perhaps slightly more if needed.
Whether or not he’d even want to play here is a question, but his name has been tied to rumors as a target for the Blackhawks. Bleacher Report columnist Lyle Fitzsimmons listed Chicago as one of the top potential landing spots for Hyman. Additionally, Fitzsimmons noted that even if Hyman isn’t necessarily eager to play for this current ‘Hawks team, “if it boils down to where he can get paid and where his style can instantly make him a fan favorite, Chicago is a fit.”
Hopefully, any further roster changes to the Blackhawks will only serve to improve the team moving forward, and there are certainly a lot of areas that need improvement. If they are looking to add some decent size and skill to the front end, though, a guy like Zach Hyman might be the perfect fit, if the price is right.