TORONTO, ON – Just like how he knows how to set a screen in front – or how he’s able to make plays happen around the blue paint – Zach Hyman certainly knows how to set the stage.

For the 31-year-old winger, who was born and raised in Toronto and spent seven seasons in the Maple Leafs organization before making his move to Edmonton in the summer of 2021, Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena will be one of his biggest stages yet.

Hyman picked up two more tallies in Edmonton’s 8-3 win over the Sabres on Thursday night, building his team-leading total to 48 goals heading into his opportunity on Hockey Night in Canada this Saturday to hit the 50-goal mark in front of his hometown crowd in Toronto.

Last year, it was the Connor McDavid show rolling into his hometown in early March while leading the NHL with 124 points in 66 games. This time, it's all about Hyman and his pursuit of 50 goals against the team he had to leave to put him on the precipice of his first 50-goal season as a member of the Blue & Orange.

“I'm sure he'll be asked about that between now and Saturday, but I would think that there's maybe something there,” Captain Connor McDavid said of his linemate. “Of course, he's got close ties in Toronto. He grew up there, born and raised, and lots of friends and family will be in the building.

“It would be special for him, but he might tell you otherwise. It'd be great to see him get there in Toronto.”

Zach addresses the media after scoring his 47th & 48th vs. Buffalo

The occasion is not lost on the winger, who’s more than doubled his best-ever totals with the Maple Leafs of 20 goals and 41 points during the 2020-21 season. But the focus for him and his teammates remains on getting the two points against Toronto and adding a big victory in a tough arena that Hyman’s never won in as a member of the opposition.

“Obviously it would be special, but I'm not focused on it,” Hyman said. “It’s kind of cool to go into the game and you have an opportunity to do that, but really, I just want to win there. I don't think I've won there since I've been here, so it would be great to go in there and win.”

Since arriving in Edmonton on a seven-year, $37.5 million (5.5M AAV) contract in July 2021, Hyman has been everything and more that the organization and Oil Country could’ve imagined.

Hyman left his hometown of Toronto for top-six opportunity in Edmonton alongside either McDavid or Draisaitl, and in addition to new career highs in goals (48) and points (67) that will grow even higher with 16 regular-season games remaining, he’s become an indispensable presence in the locker room as a leader both on and off the ice.

For the players and coaches inside the Oilers dressing room, Hyman is a shining example of how effort and determination can help evolve your game.

“We talked about Zach being a crucial part of this team and a very popular player, and everyone appreciates what a selfless guy he is,” Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. “He's inspirational to all the other players. He took the long road to get to the NHL, and now he's become a pretty good star.”

Connor chats with the media after Thursday's win over Buffalo

Regardless if Hyman’s able to reach the 50-goal mark in a fitting setting at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday, it’ll be well-deserved when it does arrive for the winger that’s fast become the heart and the hustle inside the Oilers dressing room that’s helping elevate everyone’s game.

“It's great to see him score. I love that for him,” added Mattias Ekholm. “I think he's an unbelievable guy and he's been doing so well all year. Whether he gets 50 on Saturday or whenever, I don't really care. I just hope that he gets there because he's deserved it all year.”

Don’t be surprised if Hyman sees extra ice time; or if he finds himself accepting a few more passes from his teammates as he chases down 50 goals in the place where it all started for him. But his career has been taken to an even-more incredible level since his time in Toronto ended.

“To hit that milestone, he should be so happy and so proud of what he's accomplished. But just to hit that milestone, that mark would be really incredible,” Knoblauch said.

“We'll see if we can get him some shifts.”

Kris speaks to the media following Thursday's 8-3 victory