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BLOG: Hyman a 'massive addition' to Oilers

With his relentless work ethic and tenacity on the ice, Connor McDavid believes Zach Hyman will make a big impact this season

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Zach Hyman needs no formal introduction.

Not at informal skates, at least.

The free agent acquisition greeted his team at Tuesday's on-ice session from Rogers Place in the most fitting way possible: crashing the crease and wiping out goaltender Mike Smith. 

Thankfully, the collision caused no harm as the two shared a laugh but the power move did provide a glimpse into the intensity Hyman applies on the ice, serving as a season pre-cursor to his teammates.

"You just see how hard he works. He wins battles, gets pucks off the wall. He's got a lot more skill than people give him credit for. He's just a great player and whoever gets to play with him will work well," Captain Connor McDavid, fielding the media in-person from the Oilers Hall of Fame Room, said.

Video: Informal Skate 09.14.21

Hyman donned Team White colours at the scrimmage, joining forces with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to counter Darnell Nurse and McDavid's Team Blue. The 29-year-old appeared in his element alongside the superstar talents, as well as when he was barging for the cage like a wrecking ball. 

The 2010 fifth-rounder is beginning to gain comfort in Oil Country and feeling the camaraderie that was established during off-season workouts in Ontario with Connor & Co.

"We had five Oilers guys working out in the same group," McDavid, when asked about his summer program at Gary Roberts High Performance Training, said. "Hyms was the new guy, so it was good for him to get in and see some familiar faces."

Considered one of the elite grinders in the National Hockey League by way of his tenacious style of play, Hyman put his skillset to good use over six seasons with the Maple Leafs. The Toronto product laced up in 345 games for his hometown team, compiling 86 goals and 99 assists for a total of 185 points as he formed into a complementary winger for offensive dynamos Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

Video: RAW | Connor McDavid 09.14.21

"He's a hard guy to play against," Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who faced Hyman and the Maple Leafs nine times last season, told Inside Sports Host Reid Wilkins. "He's going to be great for our team. He plays with that grit, that competitiveness and that determination that helps out a team so much."

Hyman and Edmonton's other off-season forward acquisitions, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan, are expected to elevate the pace and poise of the offence. Their presence was palpable in the few captain's skates that have been arranged.

"The additions we made are older voices. Guys that have played around, played in big scenarios and big games. We've definitely added some speed up front and some tenacity," McDavid said.

But the arrival of Hyman, his relentlessness and work ethic could make the ultimate impact.

"He's a massive addition for us."

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