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"He is the heart of the team": Toronto Maple Leafs fans pen love letters to Zach Hyman, new signing of Edmonton Oilers

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Zach Hyman’s signing with the Edmonton Oilers becomes official today, with TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the deal includes a No Movement Clause for the first five years, modified in the final two years.

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Just as Hyman leaves Toronto for Edmonton, his old fans on the Toronto Maple Leafs have taken to social media to pen love letters to the way Hyman developed and played for the Leafs in his six year stint there, that saw him grow from a fifth-round pick into a top-line winger.

Here’s some of what’s been said:

Diane Reino @dianereino
He is the heart of the team. An ambassador for this team. They need that.

The Always Correct Toronto Bag Head @torontobaghead
Zach Hyman, the only #LeafsForever who has consistently played with heart and a willingness to get his hands dirty, will soon play for another team…

Active Stick @TheOakLeafs
Message to Oilers fans if Hyman signs with you guys: despite any opinion you may have on the contract or how your GM runs your team, I promise you that you will love this player. He’s an absolute fucking horse who will never cheat his team of an honest shift. We’ll miss him a lot.

Geoff @GeeRad27
Heart and Soul player that the Leafs will miss dearly. Happy for the person, sad to see him go! Unfortunately that’s the flat cap world!

amanda @amanda_c_rae
Zach Hyman was one of the most likeable players on the leafs because of his work ethic… I never watched a game where I didn’t think he was giving it his all. He’s all heart. This one is going to sting.

elle @hymanhypeman
i f*cking love zach hyman. you could always count on him. i hope he gets paid and has all the success in the world.

Juju @JuIia_Caesar
I am happy for Hyman but boy am I going to miss the hell outta him … such a team player, put his heart into the game, the team and the community

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The Athletic sports writer Scott Wheeler @scottcwheeler
Just want to say this on Zach Hyman as he signs in Edmonton: Truly one of the nicest people in the sport. I’ve got to know him, his family, and his team over the last few years better than I have anyone else in the Leafs organization and he’s a genuinely decent guy. That matters.

Johnny Toronto @johnnytoronto99
Thank you Zach Hyman for all you did as a Leaf. You will be missed #LeafsForever

Alan@AlanDownward
Massive thanks to Zac hHyman for bringing 110% every game as a member of the Leafs. Quickly became one of my favourite players to watch. Truly a phenomenal hockey player and class-act. Oilers fans: you’re gonna love this guy.

Sportsnet reporter Luke Fox
Edmonton Oilers players, organization, fans and media are getting a gem in Zach Hyman.
Toronto Maple Leafs will be hard-pressed to become better a version of themselves without Hyman.

Toronto Hockey Youtuber Steve “Dangle” Glynn
Oilers fans – Zach Hyman is a gem. Truly. The Leafs organization has adored him and held him up as a standard since he was in the AHL. He’s a smart, no-quit warrior, a penalty-killer, capable net front guy, and has scored at a 33 and 28-goal pace in each of the past two seasons.

Mike Westlake @MikeWestlakee
Damn this one hurts. Hyman was born to be a Leaf, it’s a shame we couldn’t get it done with him. I couldn’t name 1 player better for getting a puck out from the corner. Now go get your bag you absolute beastly beauty. #LeafsForever

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Luca Finamore @Lucafinamore98
Zach hyman may honestly get one of the longest standing ovations in leaf history in his first game back in Toronto. And he deserves it

dirtbag daddy @dirtbag_daddi
Leafs nation owes a tremendous thank you to Zach Hyman. A player who understood the honour of putting on this jersey. A local kid who lived his dream. A tremendous ambassador to the community. I wish nothing but success, happiness, & health to Zach & his family in their new home.

Kyle Cushman @Kyle_Cush
Really glad Zach Hyman is getting his bag. We can criticize the signing from a team perspective, but there are few players that have worked as hard as Hyman has to get where he is today. Cash that cheque and enjoy playing with Connor McDavid

Ryan @RC3POX2Point0
Hope Hyman gets the bag, and I hope Hyman tears it up with McDavid and Leon. He’s earned every cent, worked his ass off every shift, and his development as a player over the past five years was insane to watch. From a dude that I could barely stand to watch, to a stud.

claire @claire_eliza6
i’ve said it a 1000 times but i cant believe we’ve really watched hyman’s last game as a leaf i really loved him and will miss him. i know the contract will age poorly, and i should be happy that this means we will get an assist back but man im not ready for it be official

D(ad)man @LifeofaDman
I love Zach Hyman. I absolutely love him. As a person, a player, a leader. Go get your bag Zach, you’ve earned it! I also wouldn’t touch that deal with a 10 foot pole.

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Matt LaBelle @mattlabelle
I’ve always loved Zach Hyman for his play and personality. Seems like a great dude and he will do well wherever he ends up. He’s just not in the Leafs’ budget unless he takes a significant discount. If he plays with McDavid he will be a beast as always.

My take

1. Oilers fans don’t know Hyman so well but are warming up to this deal, in no small part because of the respect and admiration the player commanded in Toronto. The initial reaction to the signing was negative in Edmonton, as fans here have seen no end of big money, big term free agent signings go badly for one reason or another, including Sheldon Souray (got hurt and fell out with management), Eric Belanger (best days already behind him), Andrew Ference (best days behind him, got hurt), Mark Fayne (did not come as advertised), Benoit Pouliot (his play quickly fell off), Milan Lucic (best days behind him), Andrej Sekera (got injured). But with the imperative on the Oilers clearly to win now, Hyman makes sense in Edmonton.

For everything there is a season,
A time for every activity under heaven.

It’s now time in Edmonton for the Oilers to win in the playoffs, and Hyman will almost certainly help the team to do that for a few years at least.

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