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Oilers’ Zach Hyman went from an All-Star snub to being rightfully recognized

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Panganiban
1 month ago
Edmonton Oilers’ forward Zach Hyman is not only a talented hockey player, but also a children’s author, the CEO of an E-Sports company and with his two-goal effort against the St. Louis Blues last week, he can proudly say he’s a member of the 40-goal club.
The 31-year-old is having a tremendous 2023-24 campaign and is currently ranked third in the NHL in goals scored, making him unquestionably one of the best players in the NHL this season. Nevertheless, early last February, he wasn’t given proper recognition as one of the NHL’s finest. While he wasn’t initially selected for the All-Star Game, he had an outside chance of being a replacement for injured players, which would have marked his first time being an All-Star. However, the decision-makers unjustly failed to make it happen.
Yet, it would’ve made for an exciting story for Hyman — his first All-Star appearance in his hometown, at his former team’s arena, with friends and family in attendance. The Toronto, ON native mentioned at the time, “I would’ve gone for sure, it’s a huge honour.” That said, it’s a thing of the past now, but it left many in Oil Country feeling that it was a gigantic snub that he didn’t officially earn All-Star status.
Despite that, in the 13 games since the All-Star Game occurred on Feb. 3, Hyman has been on an absolute heater, scoring 10 goals and adding 2 assists and he recently hit the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career. To put things into perspective on how remarkable his play has been, his previous career-high before joining the Oilers was 41 points.
The Oilers’ faithful have recognized his hard work since day one, as his dogged effort and tenacity are reminiscent of the way Ryan Smyth used to battle and convert on chances in front of the net and this has left many of the same fans feeling grateful to his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, for not re-signing him. However, with Hyman scoring goal #40, the recognition started pouring in from various circles.
TSN’s Gino Reda spoke on a segment labelled, “Was Maple Leafs’ Biggest Mistake Letting Hyman Walk?” and discussed the now-Oilers’ fantastic campaign and mentioned he is the first left winger in Oilers’ franchise history to score 40 goals in a season, which is an incredible feat, considering the amazing talent they had in the 80s. Additionally, Reda dropped an intriguing quote, recognizing that Hyman’s former team shouldn’t have let him go, saying:
“Only one guy, Auston Matthews, has more goals than Zach Hyman right now. Let that sink in a moment. Hyman, the guy the Leafs allowed to move on because they decided he wasn’t worth the $5.5 million a season he wanted, and that the Oilers were willing to pay and are now paying it.
Now, Hyman has scored 27, 36 and 40 goals in three seasons since he’s been gone, and this season the Leafs are paying that exact $5.5 million dollar annual salary to Tyler Bertuzzi. Do you think the Leafs would love a mulligan on that one?”
On top of that, hockey analyst Craig Button recently projected Team Canada’s lineup for the 2026 Olympics. Unsurprisingly, he had Connor McDavid centering the first line with, guess who? Hyman on his left side on the first line. Additionally, former NHL player Rob Brown doubled down on that sentiment, stating, “Zach Hyman is on any Team Canada team that you have right now, he is that good. Not only is he on your team, but he’s on your first line.”
Conversely, two years ago, Oilersnation’s own Tyler Yaremchuk wrote a very compelling case on why the Oilers’ winger should be on Team Canada. Yet, here we are in 2024, and Hyman is forcing the narrative to shift from if it’s possible for he him to make the squad, to the hockey community widely recognizing that his talents would be invaluable not only on the team but on the first line.
That said, despite not being selected as an All-Star, Hyman has carried on with his business just like he always has since he arrived in Edmonton. As each game passes, he’s not only solidifying himself as the best free agent signing in Oilers history, but also in league history, given the 58-goal pace he’s on.
Nevertheless, winning the Rocket Richard trophy is likely out of reach for Hyman this season with the way the leading goal scorer Auston Matthews is shooting the puck. Yet, Oilers’ fans are fine with it as they’re just happy he’s representing the orange and blue, having won over the hearts of many already during his three seasons in Edmonton.

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