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Returning Zack Kassian a Different Kind of Difference Maker For Oilers

Zack Kassian returns for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday and will offer a little something different in the lineup the team could use.

Zack Kassian will return to the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday as the team takes on the Winnipeg Jets in their final road of this current trip. The Oilers are 2-2 and would love to come back to Edmonton with a better than .500 record on the road, keeping a hot start to the season still relatively warm.

Kassian has been out of the lineup for a number of games with a groin pull. He noted it was something he didn’t think it was wise to play through, but he feels up to playing on Tuesday and will be added to the Oilers’ third line, playing alongside Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod.

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This is great news for the Oilers who have missed the kind of physical presence and in-your-face hockey that Kassian likes to play. He spoke about being tougher defensively in order to reach the top tier of the NHL standings and that the Oilers being able to pull out wins by out-scoring teams is working, but likely won’t continue to over the long haul. The trick for the Oilers is possession and playing in the opposition’s zone. What he brings to the game, he believes should help.

When asked about the Oilers’ inability to put together a solid full 60 minutes so far this season, Kassian said, “I don’t think it’s a recipe for success over an 82-game season.” He added, “We like where we’re at with our record, but you’re always tweaking stuff as the season goes on. You’re always working on things. No team is playoff ready the first 10 games.” He believes the club can tighten things up in all three zones and make it harder for the other teams to get two points.

This is exactly the type of hockey the Oilers will need out of Kassian who has been fairly productive when he is in the lineup. He’s got three goals and two assists in the 10 games he’s played but he’s also second on the team in hits with 37. His job will be to make it tougher on the Jets, one of the few teams in the NHL who have the firepower to play an offensive game with Edmonton.

Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck
Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck

Different Kind of Difference Maker

The Oilers don’t need more offense (even if Kassian can provide it). They need a player that is physical, tough, a little bit mean, and grinds to keep the puck in the offensive zone. It’s not always the most appreciated of skills when you have players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl offering highlight-reel plays every night. That said, sometimes the under-appreciated players are often as important to the outcome of a game.

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