‘It would be special:’ Oilers winger Zach Hyman has a chance to hit the 50-goal mark in his hometown Toronto

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
3 months ago
Zach Hyman was always a talented player.
After all, he scored 86 goals and 185 points in 345 games in Toronto, with four seasons of 30-plus point hockey. He rode shotgun to Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner more often than not, earning every penny of the seven-year, $38.5-million contract he inked with the Edmonton Oilers in July 2021.
When he arrived in Edmonton, the hope was that they could get a couple good years out of him. I said five, others hoped for three, and nobody really knew what to expect. Nobody expected that three years into his contract, he would have the opportunity to become a 50-goal scorer, where it all began.
“Oh yeah, I mean,” Hyman said after the Oilers’ Thursday night thrashing of the Sabres, pausing to collect his thoughts. “It would be special.”
Another pause.
“I’m not focused on it,” he then added, trying to skirt around the potential plateau. “I’m sure I’ll be asked about it a lot tomorrow and on Saturday. To have a look at it now, it’s kind of cool to go into the game and have an opportunity to do that.”
Hyman’s game has hit another level in Edmonton. As a prior 20 goal scorer, there was hope that he would be able to do that consistently with the Oilers, playing with the games best playmaker in Connor McDavid. Well, he’s sure done it, racking up 27 and 36 goals in each of his first two seasons, respectively.
He’s become one of the league’s most gifted goal-scorers, and not in the way you would think of when the term goal-scorer is brought up. He doesn’t have the speed to burn players wide and wire home shot after shot, nor does he have the agility to deke a defenceman out of his skates — two common traits you’d think of when you think of goal scorers.
Instead, he’s got the determination to outwork every player on the ice to score his goals. That involves him battling down low for positioning, boxing out defenders, and never shying away from a good battle. And when you look at the league leaders over the last three seasons in terms of high-danger scoring chances, his 8.26 per hour of ice time in all situations rank second in the league to John Tavares’ 8.27, and quite a clip above Chris Krider’s 7.77.
And now all of a sudden, at 31 years old, he’s knocking on his 50th goal of the season.
“But really, I just want to win there,” Hyman said of playing in Toronto Saturday night. “I don’t think I’ve won there since I’ve been here, so it would be great to go in there and to win.”
It’s always about the team game with him.
Even if Hyman tries to downplay the plateau or the fact he can do it in front of a hometown crowd of family and friends, his centreman won’t let it be so.
“It would be, I think, special for him,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid. “He might tell you otherwise, I don’t know, but it would be great to see him get there in Toronto.”

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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