Edmonton Oilers Rumors: Five Possible Destinations for Zack Kassian

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 23: Zack Kassian #44 of the Edmonton Oilers discusses the play with Ryan Gibbons during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 23, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 23: Zack Kassian #44 of the Edmonton Oilers discusses the play with Ryan Gibbons during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 23, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Elliotte Friedman reported yesterday on Hockey Night in Canada that the Edmonton Oilers have given Zack Kassian permission to seek out a trade. Here are five possible destinations he could end up.

Edmonton Oilers: Zack Kassian is a cult hero in Edmonton. Created from the 2016 playoffs, Kassian has found his way into the hearts of Oilers fans even after the Sam Gagner incident where he broke Gagner’s jaw with an errant high-stick. But for whatever reason, his value to the team has dropped to the point to where he’s a healthy scratch this year and when he does play he costs the team through his actions on the ice.

He still has time to make something of his time in Edmonton but if the rumors are true that he’s asked out, then I wish him a fond farewell, and I thank him for those special memories created in 2016.

I believe that whoever decides to deal for Zack Kassian will have the Oilers either retaining salary or taking some back. $1.95M a year doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but for where and the role he plays, it’s a little bit too much.

The New York Rangers

The Rangers are in rebuild mode, and from all accounts, it sounds like they are open for business. Elliotte Friedman reported earlier this week in his 31 Thoughts column that forwards Kevin Hayes and Vlad Namestnikov are a couple of names drawing interest.

Zack Kassian, if he were to join the Rangers, would be looked upon as a guardian of sorts for the Rangers young players.

It would not shock me one bit if a Namestnikov for Kassian deal were made. Two players that are in need of a change of scenery and who’d fill needs for their new clubs. A skilled winger for the Oilers and a skilled bottom-6er for the Rangers.

The Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes aren’t high on my list of likely teams that Kassian could end up on, but his name has been connected to the team in the past.

The reason I don’t have Carolina as a team likely to acquire Zack Kassian is that they’ve got the 2nd overall pick from this past summer’s draft playing 4th line RW at the moment. Add to that the fact that Carolina is playing outstanding hockey right now and that they’ve got some gritty players on their team already in Michael Ferland and Brock McGinn.

The Hurricanes don’t seem like they’d be interested in Kassian at this point but stranger things have happened. Carolina does have some cap room to fit a fellow like Kassian in and they’ve got a young team with a good leadership group as well.

Maybe the Edmonton Oilers could find a way to sweeten the pot a bit by retaining salary or including a pick/prospect and seeing if offensive defending prospect Jake Bean could be had. With the way the Hurricanes have their depth chart signed, I am not sure if Bean is going to get a chance to break into their bottom-pairing unless a trade of significant injury takes place.

The Dallas Stars

I have to wonder if the Stars are feeling the absence of Antoine Roussel this season and that’s my reasoning for throwing their name into the Kassian “sweepstakes.”

Dallas is a fun team, they’re a fast team, and they could use a player to take some of the pressure off of Jamie Benn when it comes to the physical part of the game.

Kassian is a wonderful skater, and when he’s on his game, he’s near unstoppable, but the trick is, you’ve got to get him on his game.

As for the return, the first name on the tip of my tongue is Julius Honka. A young right-handed puck-moving defender who hasn’t been able to get any traction with the Stars. Miro Heiskanen is going to be a Calder Trophy candidate this year, and there’s no way Honka is going to overtake him on the Stars depth chart. Does he need a fresh start somewhere else and what better place than Edmonton?

The Toronto Maple Leafs

This is an exciting option for Kassian. They don’t seemingly need him, but they could use him. Especially now with Matthews out. You’d think that Jacob Trouba might’ve thought twice about running the young American star had Kassian been on the bench knowing that the next time they shared the ice Kassian would be having a chat with him.

There’s a defender in Toronto that has been on the roster all season so far but hasn’t played a game. His name is Justin Holl. Might you remember him playing a couple of games last season and scoring in both? Well, he’s 6’4″ and a right-show. Something the Oilers could use. He’s also in his mid-20s and if I’m not mistaken, requires waivers to be sent down.

I believe that if the Edmonton Oilers could pick up Holl for Kassian plus that it would make it so much easier for them to send Evan Bouchard back to London of the OHL. Something that needs to be done but I’m afraid won’t because the Oilers aren’t ready to bring Ethan Bear up yet.

The Florida Panthers

For much the same reason Dallas would want to acquire Kassian, the Panthers would as well. They’re missing Michael Haley’s no-nonsense this year, and teams are taking advantage of them. The Panthers should be having a much better start to the year, but it’s been a bit of a struggle for them to date.

Kassian would bring a nice blend of skill and toughness to their roster, and I’m sure head coach Bob Boughner (a former NHL tough guy himself) would be able to coax alpha Kassian out of hiding too.

Every year Alex Petrovic and Mark Pysyk are connected to the Edmonton Oilers when the rumor mill ramps up and seeing as they are both right-handed and are both experienced. They’d fit the description (marginally) of what the Oilers would be looking for.

I think that Edmonton is looking for better puck movers than Pysyk and Petrovic and if I were GM, I’d see what Denis Malgin‘s cost was.