Edmonton Oilers Zack Kassian Will Be Great Addition to Team


Controversy and underachiever. Those two words best associate with the troubled Zack Kassian. His antics on and off the ice have jeopardized his future in the NHL. However the Edmonton Oilers clearly see the potential and value in the rambunctious 24-year-old. There is a wide range of options to consider if Kassian can get his act together and earn himself a shot with the big club.

There is a lot to like about the 6-foot-3, 217 pound winger. He can provide an intriguing combination of size, skill and nastiness to the Oilers lineup. A player of Kassian’s particular skill-set and stature has not been present on an Oiler roster in years. He is known for being a thorn in opposing players sides which has garnered him success in the past, particularly when he played for the Vancouver Canucks. His cheap shots and chirping sprees can truly an opposing teams willpower to beat Kassian’s face in purely for reparations and satisfaction. That’s why Kassian is so affective, because his frustrating agitation forces players to make pointless mistakes.

Unlike infamous agitators like Jarkko Ruutu and Sean Avery, Kassian won’t shy away from a fight. He has no problem going up against heavyweights in a match of fisticuffs, especially when he lays down a thunderous hit. Kassian has a physical edge and will never miss an opportunity to line someone up in his trolley tracks or pounce on a player that touches his goalie after the whistle.

Aside from aggression and size, he also has skill. He has a terrific finishing ability. Kassian is strong on the puck and can skate quite well for a man of his size. No doubt he is a power forward with tons of upside.

Kassian was drafted 13th overall in 2009 by the Buffalo Sabres. He spent his four year junior career in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires and the Peterborough Petes. In 213 games he accumulated 192 points along with 358 penalty minutes.

So far in his young NHL career he has played in 198 games and amassed 66 points with 307 penalty minutes. Those are underwhelming numbers for a highly touted first round draft pick. But he has proven to be quite a useful player when he is on his game. The struggle to remain consistent has plagued Kassian. There is room for much improvement as Kassian has not reached his ceiling of potential. Not even close.

An important factor to consider is that Kassian can play anywhere in the lineup. He can crash and bang in the bottom 6 or contribute with a powerful two-way game in the top 9.

As we await Kassian’s impending arrival, you can’t not consider the idea of having the big man on the same line as Connor McDavid. Kassian could be a perfect fit on that line as he can create room out on the ice with his big body as well as provide protection for McDavid. He has the skill and finishing ability to skate with McDavid and I believe we could see a much more deadlier, offensive Kassian if he is put together with a superb passer.

Peter Chiarelli knows who he is dealing with in Zack Kassian. There was no wince for words when asked about the addition of Kassian.

“He has to show us he cares, and if he doesn’t that will be it,” Chiarelli declared.

The terms were pretty straight forward and it appears Chiarelli is unwilling to mess around. His deal with the Canadiens already works well for his team because they got overpaid farmhand Ben Scrivens off the payroll which also gave him a chance at redemption in the NHL elsewhere.

This move by Chiarelli is a low risk, potentially high reward for the Oilers. If it doesn’t work out with Kassian they can simply move on. If he pans out, it will be the bargain of a lifetime for the Oil. Kassian has a goal and four penalty minutes in two games with the Bakersfield Condors. Also, he looks great in orange and blue. Go figure.