Zack Kassian has been in the news a lot lately. For the most part, it’s not because he’s a pending free agent with a new deal in the works with the Edmonton Oilers, and one that could see him make significantly more money than he’s currently making.
But, for fans who love what Kassian is bringing during the viral noise that is his conflict with Matthew Tkachuk, there’s good news.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet has provided an update on the contract negotiations between the Oilers and Kassian’s agents and things look positive. In fact, Spector notes that there is common ground on terms to the point the Oilers may announce a Kassian extension in the next few weeks.
Oilers GM Ken Holland and Rick Curran, the agent for UFA RW Zack Kassian, have spoken several times and appear to be finding common ground. My sense: They will announce a multi-year deal prior to the trade deadline, and Kassian will not go to market on July 1.
Why This Is Good For the Oilers
Outside of the fact Kassian is on pace to have a career year — he’s got 13 goals and 15 assists in 44 games this year — he’s provided a lot more than just offense. His suspension for his rag-dolling of Tkachuk hasn’t gone unnoticed by most of the NHL, many players and former stars who have sided with Kassian. Most have said he’s exactly the type of player any team would want. He’s fit right in on the top line alongside Connor McDavid and whoever else gets slotted there and he’s provided much-needed sandpaper to the Oilers roster. A career-high of 16:15 per game this season shows he’s got the confidence of the coach, even if he’s prone to losing his cool every once and while (there’s an argument to be made that Kassian was actually pretty patient in that Tkachuk fiasco).
When asked about how negotiations have gone with Kassian, GM Ken Holland said, “I’ve had a number of conversations with his agent, Rick Curran. The hope is that we can keep him in an Oilers uniform.” Holland likes almost everything about what Kassian brings to the team. He added, “I love his passion, his physicality. He’s a presence, and I am aware of the big playoffs he had three years ago.”
And, if things are moving along at this pace, it sounds a lot like Kassian likes what Edmonton offers as well. “I believe Kass loves it in Edmonton,” Holland said. And, why not? The Oilers gave Kassian a shot when other teams had given up on him. They’ve put him in a spot to succeed. He’s often playing alongside the best two offensive players in the NHL this season.
Related: Sabres GM: “We Want To Make Trades”
What Does a Kassian Contract Look Like?
If the good news is that a Kassian deal is coming along quickly, fans can only hope that doesn’t mean it’s because the Oilers are offering big money, and so much so that Kassian is easily agreeable. The best deals are ones that work for both sides and the saying goes, ‘Negotiations where both sides feel they won and lost something typically represent the fairest deals’ couldn’t be more true here.
The Oilers can’t afford to overpay Kassian. And, as much as many fans would love to say, just give him ‘four years and four million per’, that’s really a gamble if you’re the Oilers.
What does a fair deal look like? I’m not completely sure but that’s too rich for my blood. Here’s to hoping three years, at just under double what he’s making now is the high end of what Edmonton is offering and that to Kassian, that sounds like a real win.
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