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Hyman still thriving as net-front presence for Oilers

1 month 2 weeks ago #773 by OYlieLox
EDMONTON Zach Hyman has developed into one of the more effective net front players in the NHL by heeding the advice of coaches on the virtues of driving to the net.The Edmonton Oilers forward has 15 goals in 22 games and is on pace to exceed the 36 he scored last season, which was an NHL career high for the 31 year old.Hyman added to his goal total when he scored a hat trick in the Oilers' 10 12 1 fifth straight win, 6 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Place on Wednesday.'It's kind of just been a staple of my game, ' Hyman said. 'I've always been trying to figure out how to score goals, and that's the way I score goals. Early on, coaches always say if you want to score goals  Marty Mcsorley Jersey , you have to go to the net. In college, I didn't score very much in my first couple of years, even though I was still going to the net. When I first got to the NHL, I didn't score that much either, but I was still going to the net.'Hyman played four seasons at the University of Michigan before entering the NHL. He was selected by the Florida Panthers in the fifth round No. 123 of the 2010 NHL Draft but did not sign out of college and his rights were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 19, 2015.Hyman played six seasons with Toronto before signing a seven year, $38.5 million contract $5.5 million average annual value as an unrestricted free agent with Edmonton on July 28, 2021. He is in his third season with the Oilers and has 26 points 15 goals, 11 assists in 22 games.'He's had an interesting road to get to where he is and he's put in a lot of hard work, ' Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said. 'I think everyone can understand his kind of path and have a ton of respect for everything that he's done to get himself into being a really, really good player in this league.'Hyman's best offensive season with the Maple Leafs was in 2018 2019, when he had 41 points 21 goals, 20 assists in 71 games. He had 54 points 27 goals, 27 assists in 76 games in his first season with the Oilers in 2021 22, then had 83 points 36 games, 47 assists in 79 games last season.As a top six forward with Edmonton, Hyman is playing with highly skilled players  Ben Scrivens Jersey , the likes of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Evander Kane. Hyman has made the most of the opportunity and is not afraid to do the heavy lifting, digging pucks out of the corner and battling in front of the net.'There is a difference between going to the net and going to the net with a purpose and going to score, ' Hyman said. 'You have to be able to separate yourself from your defender, get your stick free, and you have to try and figure out where the puck's going to be. There's a lot of different things that go into it. If you go to the net enough, you're going to figure it out.' EDM CAR: Hyman directs in McDavid's slick feed Many of Hyman's goals are scored by winning battles in and around the goal crease. He is tenacious around the net and can be a handful for any defenseman to handle in front.'I think as soon has he came in, he had a huge impact in a lot of different ways, ' Nugent Hopkins said. 'He scores big goals, and the way that he works and stays over the puck and makes plays all over the ice, that has been his MO since he's been here. We like playing together a lot; we read well off each other, we play different games. But I think we can compliment each other, so it's been fun for me to have a guy like that to build chemistry with and someone you can trust to make a play when you need to and get open and be able to have that finishing touch like he has.'Hyman developed a reputation as a hard working player during his time with Toronto. He has continued to play in that manner with the Oilers and is getting rewarded on a consistent basis.'He was always a tough guy to play against, because he would just work and work and hold on to that puck, ' Nugent Hopkins said. 'He's a strong guy, strong over the puck and it is tough to take it off him. That was kind of what I knew of him, but I think what surprised me was his actual skill level and his ability to make plays and finish like he can. He's a great guy. He's got a great family and is just a down to Earth person. We've become good friends over the last three years and he's a great player.'It did not take Hyman long to embed himself as a leader in the locker room, which already had strong veteran group with McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent Hopkins and defenseman Darnell Nurse. Hyman brings a positive energy to the Oilers, who have aspirations of winning the Stanley Cup despite a slow start this season.'It's not the easiest job in the world and going to that area, you get rewarded. He scores a lot of goals for us right in and around that goal crease, ' McDavid said. 'I know it's cliche, but you go to the net, and you get rewarded. I think he's kind of the postboy for that. He takes a lot of abuse, he takes a lot of shots  Derek Ryan Jersey , but it pays off in the end.'


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