No one is going to mistake Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman for a fullback in football, but head coach Dave Tippett made the comparison after his team’s Friday night win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
“He scores a lot of goals from about the one-inch line, which is good. Somebody’s gotta be there,” said Tippett.
Three of Hyman’s five goals this season have been scored from in tight. On Friday, he was a bull in the blue paint, keeping the puck alive and finally having it glance in off his skate for his first of two goals on the evening.
“He was a way of getting to the bottom of the pile closest to the puck,” Tippett said after Monday’s practice. “There was a big pile-up, but it seems he was at the right layer to move it ahead.”
“Over my career, where I’ve scored goals is all around (the) net. It’s an area I’m comfortable around,” said Hyman.
“We’ve always had good net-front guys, but he’s at a little bit of a different level,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid.
McDavid leads the NHL with 13 points this season and was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week after racking up eight points in three games. He’s ripped home six goals on 21 shots in the Oilers’ five games so far.
“I obviously want to shoot the puck more. I want to score more goals,” said McDavid.
Oilers goalie Mike Smith skated briefly before Monday’s practice. Tippett said he’s doubtful to play on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Smith was injured last Tuesday during a game against Anaheim.