The Edmonton Oilers need to have an improved bottom six this upcoming season, and that starts with Zack Kassian leading the charge.
Connor McDavid is going to continue to put up 100 plus points per season, and Leon Draisaitl will be right behind him in the season standings. It is the rest of the Edmonton Oilers‘ lineup that needs to step up to the plate.
Zack Kassian of the Edmonton Oilers is just two years removed from putting up 34 points in 59 games. That should be a sign that he can be successful but last year he put up just five in 27, not a recipe for success there.
Kassian has the skillset to be a physical forward that can punish other teams with his physicality while griding down low to get some goals and help produce offensively. Sure he cannot lead his own line offensively, but he should be a threat to play against.
Edmonton needs him to be that player again this season. No one is asking him to lead the charge offensively and expects to count on him to win every night, but when it comes to the revival of the bottom six after last season, it needs to start with Kassian.
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Kassian got a nice contract extension after playing with McDavid for a season, but now that the two are not on the same line, he kind of fell out of the lineup and out of relevance, still with a large-cap hit. This team needs him to be effective because they are paying him to be that.
Kassian will be on this team for another three years at 3.2 million a season. Adding Warren Foegele and all the other players the team added this offseason means very little unless everyone can step up to the plate this season and help make the Oilers a real contender for the Stanley Cup.
Kassian might not be needed throughout most of the regular season, the Oilers can win games without him. But in the postseason when things get more physical it is a guy like him that can help rewrite the story that has been hurting Edmonton in the postseason.
Kassian is the guy that can get scrappy goals and help get opponents off of their game. If he can do that throughout the regular season that should be a good sign of what is to come in April and May.
If Zack Kassian cannot bounce back this season then the team is really in a bad position with his contract. They are paying him a lot of money, and now it is up to him to prove he is worth it.