Zach Hyman: Is There More?
Photo credit:Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t see Zach Hyman putting up career highs for goals, assists, and points with 27-27-54 in his first season with the Edmonton Oilers in 2021-22 as much of a surprise. You?
A nice bump over his previous high of 41 with the Toronto Maple Leafs after coming over as a free agent on a seven-year deal with a $5.5-million AAV? Yes, but not unexpected, at least not to me when you add a hustling, high-energy winger like Hyman to a mix that includes Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Then, factor in Hyman becoming a key cog on the power play.
That said, watching Hyman set all his previous bests on fire with 36-47-83 in 79 games last season was a surprise. He blew past 54 points with 34 games left in the season. Most of that 29-point jump came via the power play.
Hyman’s 15 PPG is 10 better than his previous best. His 26 points is 16 better than the 10 he tallied in his first season here. All of that despite having six goals disallowed. Hyman also had career highs in shots with 276 and ice time at 20:09.
Add it up, and Hyman has produced 63-74-137 in 155 games with the Oilers. At 31, does he have an encore in him going into the 2023-24 season? Is what we just saw Hyman’s absolute top end or is there more in terms of points? The way I see it, just repeating his production of last season would be remarkable. I’d suggest we’ve seen enough of Hyman after two seasons to know better than to bet against him.
Apr 23, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Zach Hyman (18) celebrates his goal scored against the Los Angeles Kings with center Leon Draisaitl (29) during overtime in game four of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Last season obviously didn’t end the way Hyman or the Oilers wanted with a second-round exit in the post-season against the eventual Cup champ Vegas Golden Knights. After tearing it up in the 2022 playoffs with 11 goals and 16 points in 16 games, Hyman took a knee from Nick Hague in Game 2 of the series and wasn’t the same the rest of the way – he finished the playoffs with 3-8-11 in a dozen games.
“Going into next year, I think everybody’s mindset should be winning the Stanley Cup or it’s a failure of a season,” Hyman said after Vegas took the Oilers out in six games. “That’s the reality of the window that we’re talking about. There’s no consolation prize. We’re not going to feel any better. It’s the worst I felt after a loss in my career, and it’s not going to get better until you win.
“There are no excuses. We’re returning the majority of our team. Management is going to do what management thinks they need to do to make our team better, and that’s the mindset we have going into next year.”
To that end, GM Ken Holland added Connor Brown to the mix. Nugent-Hopkins is coming off a 104-point season, a career-best by 35 points. Anything within 20 points would be a great encore in my books. Evander Kane is ready to rumble after having his season derailed by a skate cut to the wrist and surgery to repair it. Then, there’s McDavid and Draisaitl.
So, what about Hyman? Is there more?
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