Zach Hyman will be an Oiler, maybe this afternoon. He made the only move he could to end up with a better centre than he had most of the time on the Leafs.
Hyman came to the Leafs in a trade for Gregg McKegg after Hyman had a huge points year in the NCAA. Because he did that playing with Dylan Larkin, and moved onto the Leafs after part of one season in the AHL just in time to play with Auston Matthews, he has often been written off as a man riding the coattails of better players.
In Hyman’s first full NHL season, he had a very poor shooting percentage, which has also led to the theory that he improved his shot in some mysterious way. That he was just a depth guy, and suddenly he emerged as a valuable complementary player. In reality, he never was a depth guy, and he played with Matthews full time the second the Leafs stopped tanking.
He also has one year where his shooting percentage was higher than average, but over his career, it looks exactly like normal fluctuations around an average that is above average for forwards. Net-front shooters nearly always have good shooting results and if they take a lot of shots they get goals. They’re tapping in rebounds, participating in heavy scrums, and getting what get called garbage goals. The other meme with Hyman is that he gets tonnes of empty-net goals. Of course, you have to be chosen to hold the lead to be on the ice to get those.