Monday Mailbag – How does Zach Hyman keep getting better with the Oilers?

Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
3 months ago
Happy Monday, dearest Nation Citizens, and welcome back to another Mailbag that’s geared up to help keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re discussing Connor McDavid’s pursuit of 100 assists, Zach Hyman’s heater, Troy Stecher, and more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Mar 5, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates his game winning overtime goal against the Boston Bruins with teammates center Connor McDavid (97) and defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) at TD Garden.
1) Al asks – Connor McDavid needs nine assists in the final 13 games to get to 100 helpers on the season. Since there are only three players who have ever done this before, why aren’t more people talking about the incredible run he’s on for assists this season?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think now that it’s looking more and more like a sure thing, we’ll hear more about it. It really is one of the most impressive things we’ve seen McDavid do in his career and he deserves a lot of praise.
He’s going to get there. After last night’s game against the Senators, he only needs nine. It’s happening.
Mar 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Aimee asks – What have you seen from Zach Hyman since coming to Edmonton that surprises you most? He seems to get better every year, and it’s been a wonderful surprise to watch.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Just his general ability to finish off chances is what surprises me the most. Yes, he’s scored a lot from right inside of the blue paint, which is impressive in itself, but he has also scored a bunch from outside that area. The fact that he’s seemingly gotten more and more skilled since coming over here is the most surprising part to me.
He’s found a way to fit in alongside Connor McDavid better than anyone else that’s played there not named Leon Draisaitl. If it was so easy to play with Connor, Ty Rattie would be making $8 million per year. He fits and he finishes so much better than I ever could have expected.
Mar 19, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen Troy Stecher (51) and goaltender Jack Campbell (36) battle for position during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) Calvin asks – Is there any way you see Troy Stecher becoming an everyday player for the Oilers down the stretch?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
They seem reluctant to want to scratch Cody Ceci, so I’ll say no. I think Stetcher deserves more ice time, I’m just not sure if Knoblauch is ever going to take the plunge and actually scratch a player like Ceci for him.
I think Stecher should play more based on the handful of games we’ve been able to watch him, but the coach and team are clearly attached to Cody Ceci so I don’t know that it’ll ever happen unless Knobby wants to go 11/7. He probably doesn’t.
Mar 28, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (36) warms up before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
4) Mike asks – Heaven forbid Skinner goes down in the playoffs, but who do you go to as your starter? Campbell, who struggled early but is now playing well in Bakersfield and has playoff experience, or Pickard, who has been a strong and consistent backup this season but lacks playoff experience?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
You definitely go with Pickard to start. I think he’s earned that given how solid he’s been this season. I will say that the leash would be short and if it ever got to that point, I wouldn’t be too hesitant to roll the dice on Campbell. He does have very good playoff numbers in his career.
I don’t even want to think about it tbh. I think you’d probably start with Pickard — I know that’s a strange thing to say after he got lit up last night — but I also think the leash would be short before swapping to Campbell.
Mar 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella behind the bench against the New York Rangers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center
5) Blake asks – We have less than 20 games left in the NHL schedule and I’d like to know who everyone thinks has been the most surprising team in the league in terms of overperforming and underperforming expectations?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Overperforming is the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s not even close. If I had to pick a second-place finisher, I’d probably say either the Canucks or the Jets. On the other end of the spectrum, I’d say the Blue Jackets. With the additions they made, I thought they’d be able to make a push up the standings this year. They’ve been brutal again and are in desperate need of a full reset.
Philly is fighting way above their weight class, and it’s honestly impressive to watch. On the flip side, I thought the Devils and Senators would be better than they are. Lots of talent in both of those rosters.


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