Edmonton Oilers: It might be time to drop Zack Kassian to third line
So far into this regular season, the Edmonton Oilers are 2-3-0 and coming off a big road game win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Leon Draisaitl scored a Power Play goal to prove that the Oilers can still indeed have that be a major strength of the team’s offensive attack. Of course, everything is still a work in progress but one player that is so far been a bit of a disappointment has been right winger Zack Kassian.
There is hope that his struggles to turn on the jets when it comes to scoring goals improves over time, but it’s clear that the usual playing time he’s been getting hasn’t been effective. At this point in time, Kassian has zero goals and just four shots on goal with an average time on ice of 14 minutes and 32 seconds.
In the grand scheme of things, it might be time for head coach Dave Tippett to consider keeping Kassian on the third line and cutting down his minutes. Clearly, something is a bit off and perhaps focusing on his natural-born abilities more in practice can help jumpstart Kassian.
The Edmonton Oilers should move Zack Kassian to the third line
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This shouldn’t be a permanent demotion or anything, it would be something that might make sense for Tippett to do after the next three road games the Oilers have.
Then, when they return home on January 28th, 2021 to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tippett can make the adjustment and see how Kassian does over the next week or so.
Jesse Puljujarvi made a case for himself that more playing time will undoubtedly help the Oilers out, especially with his recent performance in their big win over the Maple Leafs on the road.
If anything, Tippett should consider moving Puljujarvi up so he can get more average time on ice and Kassian down so he can work on what needs to get worked on. This could prove to help the Oilers out more in the long-term as Kassian needs to do more to earn that huge four-year contract that was given to him back in 2020.
Overall, it will be very interesting to see what Tippett does to get Kassian back on track. At the end of the day, perhaps a week or so only on the third line and used sparingly could do the trick to wake him up. It could motivate him to bring that aggressiveness back out on the ice when it matters most once he steps foot on the ice.