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Should Oilers Be Open to Trading Zack Kassian?

As the Edmonton Oilers get set for arguably their most important offseason in the last five seasons, there are questions about who the team should target in free agency, but also questions about who the team should trade to add the proper depth this team needs and to free up cap space to make potentially the biggest splash. Among the names being tossed around this week is that of Zack Kassian.

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Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now talked about the effectiveness of Kassian when he’s on, but that the Oilers have to know there will be teams interested in his services if he’s made available. Considering a number of clubs aren’t shying away from adding a more physical presence to their lineup, Kassian could be a good fit, while allowing the Oilers to shed his $3.2 million salary off the books.

Stauffer noted, “Zack Kassian, there will be teams interested in him. I could see Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers, but in fairness to Zack, I didn’t mind what we saw of Zack in the third and fourth game of the (Winnipeg) series.” I would add the Columbus Blue Jackets to that list after reports were the team was looking at adding more toughness under John Davidson.

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal spoke about the positives and negatives of removing Kassian and focused on what happens to the Oilers physicality if Kassian is gone. Noting Edmonton can afford to pay Kassian’s bloated salary over the next couple of seasons, he adds, “The Oilers aren’t a big team and without Kassian, they’d suddenly be a lot smaller and lacking in any kind physical menace save for Darnell Nurse, who you really don’t want engaging in fist fights.”

Is Kassian’s Physicality Enough?

Staples asks: “Is that enough reason to keep him around at his premium price, and with the prospect that his game isn’t likely to get any better in the next three seasons?” The answer is probably no, especially if the Oilers have other options to improve the depth on this team and that depth can be effective in the Oilers top six.

Zack Kassian Gets 2 game Suspension
Zack Kassian Gets 2 game Suspension

This may be the summer that Edmonton can get a decent return for Kassian because teams are actively looking for players just like him. If a club is willing to pay full price to acquire the forward who doesn’t always show up, then the Oilers should seriously consider moving him.

If the return isn’t there, that’s something else. There’s no need to remove Kassian to simply dump him off the roster.

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