Zach Hyman was a splashy free agent signing for the Edmonton Oilers early in 2021 free agency. The longtime Leaf had just finished his fifth full season in Toronto and jumped ship from the Big Smoke to the City of Champions when he signed a seven year deal valued at 38.5 million. An impact forward with Toronto, he had a big first year with the Oilers. What’s next?
A fifth round selection from the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Hyman was moved from the Panthers to the Leafs back in 2015 for Greg McKegg (who’s also an Oiler now) and a conditional pick. Hyman split time between the Marlies and Leafs in his first year before making it a full-time gig in TO.
Zach Hyman was an instant favourite in Edmonton from the moment he pressed pen to paper on his contract. A 6’1” winger who loves to get physical and can score is a player you can fit in the lineup almost anywhere. For the Oilers, Hyman was likely to replace the services of the recently departed Dominik Kahun on the top line alongside Connor McDavid. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.
PRODUCE, HE DID
Hyman’s first full season in Edmonton was a blast. With Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujärvi as his most common linemates, Hyman scored 19 of his 27 goals on the season at even strength. He’d score a few on the power play, and would cap off a very good inaugural season with his new club. He’d sizzle in the playoffs, going 11-5-16 as the Oilers went to the third round before falling to the Colorado Avalanche. Not bad at all.
We predicted 53 points in Hyman’s first full season with the Oilers (26-27-53). Hyman made it an even 27-27-54. It was Hyman’s first time over 50 points, and there’s a very good chance that it won’t be his last.
SO, ANOTHER YEAR OF WHAT WE JUST SAW, RIGHT?
If the personnel remains the same, I think another season in the mid-50 point range sounds about right. Hyman was the third-highest Oilers forward in ice time last season (19:28/G), and there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue into 2022-23. Hyman finished with a S% just under 13%, which is about where he is for his career average. I think that’s a fair number he’ll be around next season.
There are a few scenarios that could cause some flux in Hyman’s production in 2022-23.
- Hyman’s injury history is definitely worth taking a look at, though it didn’t really slow him down in his first season with Edmonton. Hyman missed parts of 2018-19 and 2019-20 with knee ailments (ACL, MCL) which is something definitely worth keeping an eye on going forward. Fortunately for both Hyman and Edmonton, injuries didn’t play a major factor in his first year with his new club.
- Evander Kane’s mid-season emergence has a chance to cut into Hyman’s overall numbers. Kane’s introduction to the lineup saw Hyman play less with McDavid and more on a line with Leon Draisaitl as the season progressed. (Kane played at a 2/1 rate at 5v5 with McDavid at centre vs Draisaitl.) From a production standpoint, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Edmonton. It might be noticeable for Hyman in 2022-23 if he’s not alongside McDavid for the majority of the season, as Hyman produced the most while he was on the ice with Connor McDavid.
- There’s a non-zero chance that Hyman could be moved from the left side to the right side in 2022-23. The Oilers still currently only have two right wings under contract for the upcoming season in Jesse Puljujärvi and Kailer Yamamoto. If Jay Woodcroft doesn’t feel that a tandem of Puljujärvi and Yamamoto don’t fit the bill, Hyman could flip to right wing, a position he’s very familiar with. If that’s on the first line, it will likely help support his stat line.
If the Oilers keep all other things the same, Hyman’s numbers are in a good spot to look like they did last season. Evander Kane is a good candidate to begin 2022-23 as the top line left wing in Edmonton, and I think that might have some final impact on Hyman’s numbers overall. I don’t think it will be enough to warrant concern, as I think Hyman still gets plenty of power play time (he averaged almost two and a half minutes per game last season).
Over 82 games, I’ve got Zach Hyman at 51 points (25-26-51). If he opens the season on the right side of the McDavid line (and plays substantial time there), I think these numbers could be greater.
After a successful first season in Oiler colours, Zach Hyman will be asked to do it again in 2022-23. How will he do?
POLL: Assume 82 games played. How many points will Zach Hyman score in 2022-23?
This poll is closed
40 or less
Greater than 60