Zach Hyman was Ken Holland’s biggest free agent fish of the 2021 offseason. There’s plenty to like about this player. What can we expect from him in his first year as an Oiler?
Hyman is a fifth round selection of the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. A native Torontonian, he played Junior A in Hamilton and committed to Michigan before being sent to Toronto in 2015 for Greg McKegg and a conditional seventh round pick. Hyman split time with the Marlies and the Leafs in his first year in 2015-16, he became an everyday player the following year. In parts of six seasons with the Maple Leafs, he’s picked up 185 total points in 345 games played. For an age 29 player, that’s not a tonne of games played. If Hyman plays all 82 games for seven years (that’ll be quite an accomplishment), it will be a bit under 600 total games in an Oiler sweater. Let’s hope Hyman’s knee troubles are at thing of the past.
For the Oilers, they’re hoping that Hyman can provide excellent return on investment during his seven year contract. Hyman is a physical player with a style of play that’s sure to resonate with Oiler fans new and old. Standing in at about 6’1” and 215, Hyman is a gifted shooter (his career average is a whisker above 12%) and isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas in front of the net. Play is more often in the opponent’s ice than in his own when Hyman is on the ice, though it’s worth noting his possession numbers were not great against elite competition this past season. Hyman spent most of his time last year with some good company in Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews, it’ll would surprise me if he didn’t get the majority of his time in 2021-22 on a line with Connor McDavid.
I’m hesitant to use Hyman’s 12.2 career S% as a benchmark for his performance this year; as that number is so low in part due to his first full year when he shot 6% over 82 games. Hyman’s last three years were 13%, 19.8% (whoa!) and 14.6%, so there’s a good argument that Hyman might be closer to 13 or 14% when the dust settles in 2021-22. Hyman was well on his way to a season over 200 shots last season, but an abbreviated season kept him from getting there. If Hyman shoots 14% at 200, that’s 28 goals. It’s not too bad, really.
THE MCDAVID FACTOR
I don’t know exactly how many more goals Zach Hyman can bring to the Connor McDavid line. What I feel pretty confident in saying is that if Zach Hyman is on a line with Connor McDavid, there’s going to be some good things happening. Connor McDavid was a cheat code for the Oilers last year when he put up 105 points in 56 regular season games. That number includes 44 assists at even strength. If Hyman is a full time player alongside McDavid this year, some of that is going to spill over. Add in some power play time, and it’s fair to assume that Zach Hyman will be a benefactor.
IS THERE ANY WAY HE DOESN’T PRODUCE?
My only concern at this point of Hyman’s career is his injury history. Hyman has missed parts of two seasons with knee injuries to the same knee (torn ACL and sprained MCL). A healthy Zach Hyman has a real chance to break his career high point total. I’d expect him to do that in 2021-22.
SO HOW MANY POINTS?
There are a lot of variables at play here, but if Zach Hyman spends 80%-ish of his time on the top line with Connor McDavid, he’s going to do very well for himself. He’ll get his power play minutes in, and he’ll be a dangerous player on the ice at all time for the defence. Age 29 players tend not to have career years, but not everyone gets the luxury of playing alongside the best player in the world. If by some chance Zach Hyman ends up spending most of his time on a line with Leon Draisaitl, I still think he does well for himself...just not as well as he could on a line with McDavid. Factor in some wild line jumbling at some points during the season, as I think there’s a good chance we’ll see the 97/29 combo at times when the Oilers feel like they just gotta have something. Is Zach Hyman on that line? Maybe.
Add your power play time to what is likely to be a very good regular season, and I’ve got Zach Hyman eclipsing the 50 point mark for the first time in his career. I’ll put a healthy Zach Hyman down for 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 total points over an 82 game season.
Assume 82 games played. How many points will Zach Hyman score in 2021-22?
This poll is closed
Less than 40