‘It’s all good:’ Oilers’ Zach Hyman talks All-Star snub

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
As the hockey world saw the NHL’s best descend onto Toronto for the league’s annual best of last weekend, there was one notable omission — at least, in the eyes of Edmonton Oilers fans.
Represented well at the All-Star Game by Connor McDavid, who took home the $1-million prize in the skills competition, and his compadre Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman was left on the outside looking in.
But make no mistake about it, Hyman isn’t just the younger brother who can’t quite keep up with his older siblings, no. He was just as deserving as his teammates to have made the big game.
With 30 goals and 47 points through 44 games, Hyman sits near the top of the league in both categories and is well on pace for the first 50-goal campaign of his career.
In Hyman’s eyes, however, it’s water under the bridge.
“I would have gone for sure. It’s a huge honour,” Hyman told The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman in a great tell all about where his game is at. “But it’s all good.”
It’s all good indeed because there are much larger things at hand for this Oilers squad. Namely, making the playoffs and fighting for a chance at the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1990.
And Hyman will continue to be a big part of that, finding himself on the Oilers’ top line all season long alongside Connor McDavid and, for the most part, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, adding Evan Bouchard and Leon Draisaitl to the league’s most fearsome power play unit.
“The more you play with those guys, the more you learn their tendencies,” Hyman told Nugent-Bowman. “First year, you’re on a brand-new team, trying to learn your teammates and what they like to do. The second year, you have better feel. The third year, it’s automatic.
“Look how many guys tried to (play alongside McDavid) — not to put anybody down — but it’s not easy. If you can figure it out, it’s great. But there’s also a lot of pressure that comes along with it.
“If you play with those guys, there’s an expectation that your line is one of the best lines in hockey. Your line has to produce. It has to outscore the other team. If you don’t, you’re probably not going to be successful (as a team).”
All that Oilers top line has done this year is just that: outscore the other team. Among 43 lines who have played over 200 minutes this season, Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, and Hyman have scored 4.66 goals per hour at 5v5 this season, the second-best mark to only the Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust line in Pittsburgh.
Their ability to score, as well as defend for the Oilers, has lauded them for a 65.7 percent goal share at 5v5, the seventh-best mark among those aforementioned group of lines.
The trust Kris Knoblauch and his coaching staff have in that group is significant, as they’re oft seen on the ice in critical defensive situations, leading to the Oilers scoring plenty when they have the lead. Hyman, whose 19 goals with the lead pace all players heading into Monday night’s games by three, is at the forefront of it.
Now for Hyman and the Oilers, they’ll look to get rolling on Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights hoping to tie the NHL record winning streak at 17 games.

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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