Michael Bunting is helping the Leafs forget all about Zach Hyman

Published February 15, 2022 at 8:26 PM

When the Toronto Maple Leafs lost Zach Hyman to the Edmonton Oilers via free agency last off-season, there was widespread concern both inside and outside of the organization that the likeable and hardworking winger would be impossible to replace.

Enter Scarborough native Michael Bunting.

A longtime minor-leaguer, Bunting scored 10 goals in just 21 games for the Arizona Coyotes during the abbreviated 2020-2021 season and caught the eye of Leafs' GM, Kyle Dubas. Again. See, Bunting is another of several players on the current Leafs' roster with whom Dubas has familiarity with via the Soo Greyhounds organization, where Dubas was once GM and where Bunting played for two seasons from 2013 to 2015.

Now into the second half of his first season as a Leaf (and first full season as an NHLer), the rookie has proven to be one of Dubas' best recruits ever while bettering Hyman's numbers at one-fifth the price:

Gone is the off-season concern as a result of Hyman's departure. Hockey junkie, Massimo Altelius, put it best on Twitter:

There's even been some talk around the League that Bunting is making a case for his being a Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) candidate at season's end and what an accomplishment that would be for a hometown kid from the GTA who toiled in the minors for so many years.

What Bunting may not be accomplishing, however, is giving Trevor Zegras a run for his money any time soon:

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