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Hyman and Matthews: Talk of Goal-Scoring in the Same Breath?

The Edmonton Oilers Zach Hyman is having a great season scoring goals. Is he as good as Auston Matthews? What does Hyman say about it?

Throughout his three seasons in Edmonton, Oilers fans are learning what Toronto Maple Leafs fans knew about hard-working forward Zach Hyman — he’s good. And, he never quits working. Hyman is regarded as a solid hockey player, and several attributes help him be an on-ice success. But, how good is he? When it comes to scoring goals, is he the type of player that can be mentioned in the same conversation as Auston Matthews?

What Attributes Make Zach Hyman Successful

First, Hyman has a relentless work ethic and tenacity. Although it sounds a bit banal, in Hyman’s case it’s accurate. He gives his all during games. He relentlessly chases down pucks, engages in board battles, and creates scoring opportunities through sheer hard work. He’s gritty and determined; and, this straight-ahead style of play endears him to teammates, coaches, and fans alike.

Related: Oilers Keeping an Eye on Blue Jackets’ Right-Shot D-Man

Second, Hyman is versatile. He’s effective in various roles, whether it’s playing alongside star players on the top line or contributing to the team’s defense. He excels in both offensive and defensive situations; and, that makes him a valuable asset. He contributes not only by pushing the offense but also by being a responsible two-way player.

Zach Hyman scores goals for the Oilers.

Third, a huge part of Hyman’s success is that he’s fearless. He sets up camp in front of the opposition’s goalie and uses his quick hand-eye coordination and reflexes to take advantage of rebounds. His net-front presence also creates scoring opportunities for his teammates; and, he has a knack for finding open spaces to capitalize on rebounds and create scoring chances.

Although it’s come relatively late in his career, Hyman’s scoring instincts are being honed as he spends more time in the Oilers’ top six units as an integral part of the offense. These growing skills, when combined with his physicality, make him a constant threat in front of the opposing goal.

Still, Who Would Have Predicted Hyman’s Scoring Totals This Season?

This season, Hyman is having an exceptional year scoring goals. In fact, on Tuesday night he had a goal called back against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was a great goal, but Leon Draisaitl was ruled as being offside before Hyman scored. Had that goal counted, he would’ve had 26 goals rather than 25 on the season.

Earlier this week, after his latest hat trick, Hyman had a playful exchange during an interview. He was quizzed about his old pal on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews. The interviewer teased him about keeping up with Matthews in his quest for another Rocket Richard Trophy. However, even with 25 goals in 36 games, Hyman playfully shrugged off the idea of his being able to challenge Matthews’ league-leading goal-scoring.

Zach Hyman Edmonton Oilers
Zach Hyman Edmonton Oilers

During the exchange, Hyman acknowledged Matthews’ impressive track record of scoring 329 goals in 517 NHL games and humorously emphasized, “When he gets hot, it’s forget about it.”

Hyman Came to Goal-Scoring Later in His Career

Interestingly, Hyman’s goal-scoring journey took a unique turn when he came to Edmonton. He hadn’t registered his first hat trick until his 450th NHL game. That came against the Nashville Predators on December 13, 2022. However, this season, he’s put up three more hat-tricks in the last 23 games.

With that feat, Hyman has joined some elite ranks of Oilers franchise history. Only Hyman and Connor McDavid have achieved three hat-tricks in a single Oiler season over the past 35 years. Before that, the legendary Wayne Gretzky held the record with four hat tricks in the 1986-87 season.

Related: 3 Takeaways from Oilers’ 2-1 Victory Over Blackhawks

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