With Hyman out, who should start the season next to Tavares?

The Leafs will be in tough to begin the season. Two of their primary depth players, Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott, will be out for a period of time when they start a crucial year after a disappointing end to the previous one.
Dermott will have his spot taken by a player previously not on the Leafs — be it Kevin Gravel or Ben Harpur — for the early part of the season. But with Hyman’s absence, there is a massive opportunity for a player to take on more responsibility and shine next to an elite centre like John Tavares.
Last year it was Kasperi Kapanen that took advantage of William Nylander’s contract negotiations and was highlighted next to Auston Matthews, earning his first 20-goal season in the NHL.
That eventually led to Kapanen having more of a role later in the season when Nylander returned, instead of returning to his fourth-line role from the 2017-18 campaign. His surge in importance grew his reputation and gave more of a spotlight on the rest of his season.
Whoever the Hyman replacement will be, might have more of an opportunity to raise the general awareness of their play and abilities. It’s …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

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