The Detroit Red Wings are not among the three favorites to sign UFA Zach Hyman, according to a report published by the Toronto Star.
The newspaper reports the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers have emerged as the front runners. The Toronto Maple Leafs granted permission for teams to talk to Hyman. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and Red Wings are the other interested parties.
Hyman’s asking price is between $5 million and $6 million, representing a significant increase from his previous salary average of $2.2 million.
The Red Wings like Hyman because he’s among the best at digging out pucks to create scoring chances. Hyman scored 15 goals in 43 games last season. He also has ties with Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin. They played together one season at the University of Michigan.
Hyman, 29, would like to stay with the Maple Leafs, and would take less to stay with them. But the Maple Leafs are salary cap challenged and might have difficulty fitting any kind of Hyman raise into their budget.
The Red Wings have ample cap space, but are a long way from being a contender. That makes it difficult to recruit top players. Until the Red Wings show they are competitive, top free agents are going to stay away from Detroit.
The Oilers likely are envisioning Hyman playing with Connor McDavid. It would be an entertaining and productive pairing. If the Oilers can win the Hyman sweepstakes, it would appease Edmonton fans, some of whom were disappointed over the Duncan Keith acquisition.
In terms of enthusiasm for the signing, the Oilers might be the favorite.