For much of today, I have been getting dm’s and emails (more than 10!) asking me what I think of Zack Kassian as an Oiler. Answer: Doesn’t matter. Peter Chiarelli likes his power forwards and there are several roles open on his Edmonton team for next season. Let’s have a look.

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  1. What jobs could Kassian fill as an Oiler? Several. On Chiarelli’s Stanley Cup team in 2011, all of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Shawn Thornton were regulars. Lucic and Horton formed and effective line with David Krejci that season, lots of skill and size, 68 goals. Thornton played on a 4line most often with Greg Campbell, but would jump up and play on the Marchand line from time to time. So, the answer is scoring winger, or fourth line rumble winger.
  2. Can he help the offense? As an offensive player, Kassian has some ability. In 2014-15 with the Canucks, his 1.84 points-per-60 at 5×5 ranked him No. 4 among regulars (he played half the season, but was a regular when in the lineup). He was playing with guys like Shawn Matthias and Brad Richardson, that is more bottom 6F territory but he did deliver some good boxcars. In 120 minutes with the Sedins, he scored four goals (2.00/60) and that is a good number.
  3. Does he get hurt a lot? All power forwards get injuries and they are usually substantial. He had a finger injury (13) and back injury (14) in 2014-15 that cost him a lot of games.
  4. Who would you compare him to? Think opposite Magnus Paajarvi and that probably fits. You know this player if you are an Oilers fan, so I am not certain a specific example works as a comparable.
  5. Is he better than Luke Gazdic? Different player for sure. Gazdic is a very good fighter and a willing learner in terms of hockey. Kassian is a hockey player who can fight.
  6. What are his strengths? He is strong, physical, aggressive and has skill. That’s a lot.
  7. What are his weaknesses? He is not a cerebral player.
  8. Who would be a good fit for him? In terms of a skill line, I
    would be curious to see him with any of the three centers (McDavid,
    Leon, Nuge). He can win battles but is not a checker or good in



As a Bruins fan, I hated Brad Park—until Boston traded for him. Took about 10 minutes to turn it around. Now, Kassian is a different story, there is some major history there including a ghastly injury inflicted and extremely poor conduct afterwards. It was offensive, and Kassian will have to earn his way with Oilers fans. If you believe in redemption, and I do (have needed it a time or two in my life), then forgiveness is part of you.

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Miles to go on an interesting trade.

  • TheYarish

    I posted my thoughts in the other thread: In short it’s about this being a great opportunity to turn his life around, and it’s more than a “clean slate” as this team holds a generational talent, it’s up to him what role he’d like to play.

    But I thought of something very silly that I probably shouldn’t be posting…but imagine Kassian coming to Rexall for the first time and then he’s locked in a room with Gazdic and Chia says, “this is what you wanted, right Gaz? You got 5 minutes”. Gags is watching a live feed via the security cam with popcorn on hand. That would be genius.

    Aaaand that’s my cue to go to bed. (2:30am right now)

    Seriously though, with McLellan focused on pairs, and inserting a 3rd guy depending on the situation, Kassian should reach for the sky here. Would Hall/Drai/Kass look that much worse than Hall/Drai/Purcell?

    I’ll be honest, as unpopular as this statement might be, last night I’d much rather have a guy like Khaira who was finishing checks, on the second line instead of Ebs who was getting knocked around. Khaira finishing a check on Bennett or Gaudereau would have subdued them a bit. The Oilers are letting other players feel untouchable…and that’s because they’re letting them dance around.

  • Dirtski

    Man does Pete look haggered and stressed out in that vid. God speed manning this hellish helm Pete. After seeing one pull up Bennett mash up our boys like duck hunt and Johnnie pokemon dance around us like Patrick swayze I’m glad to see Kass the animaniac in oil colours. Like everyone I hopes it works out, something interesting is bound to happen. Just happy to see Chia doing something (however small) to address the grit – can’t wait to see what’s to come next, he’s being patient not stupid and this team will be Stanley Cup good under him eventually.

    • KACaribou

      A few new nicknames might be in order.
      1) Bennett did 1 pull-up with a separated shoulder and then almost made the Flames before the medical staff found out.
      2) Johnny Hockey dances around every team not just the Oilers. That wasn’t a unique demo.

      As far as grit goes, Oilers didn’t need Kass. They have as much grit as anyone. They need a quality defense. That was the only difference in the Oilers/Flames game.

  • Delete

    I think what Chiarelli has done is brilliant.

    9 or 10 Edmonton Oiler forwards (more if counting Bakersfield) woke up to the news that the Oilers have acquired an existential threat to their careers.

    It is very clear what Zack Kassian’s skillset is. He has the combination of nastiness and skill that could potentially replace any Oiler forward not named Hall, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins or McDavid.

    If that doesn’t light a fire under a bunch of soft under-performing asses, nothing will.

    The acquisition has stirred up a hornets nest in the fanbase and don’t think the Oilers dressing room isn’t a littled unsettled by this trade.

  • Jay (not J)

    Zach Kassian is 24 years old. Mature for a hockey player, sure but really still a baby in the grand scheme of things. He’s had some problems, but he is not past the point where he can come back from them. I know older kids in the real world that have battled and defeated personal demons at and come out strong on the other side. Maybe this pick up is a desperate grasp at a straw but the worst that it is is a trade of a player who wont play for you for a player who might. The potential upside (and potential is a key part)is that ZK gets his crap together, learns to colour between the lines and becomes the player that he teased at being in Vancouver. I don’t think he’ll ever be the player that Todd Bertuzzi was before Steve Moore’s neck but if he can play that role effectively in Edmonton it will help the whole forward group be more effective. It would be a nice change to see the Oilers’ opposition playing with their heads on swivels instead of Oilers crumpled in heaps by the boards.

  • Romanus

    There are over 7 billion humans in the world. That’s a lot of people to be rooting for simultaneously. Sorry but when Zach Kassian mocked Sam ganger for wearing a jaw protector I crossed him off my “hope he does super awesome in rehab” list. If I knew where his facility was I would have cracked a few cold ones on a bench outside his window with Sam ganger every night. And when Zach looked out the window I would have pointed to his cup of orange juice and said “what’s that?…what’s that?.”

  • S cottV

    A few weeks ago, I posted that Hall – Drai, needed a Khaira like RW, with more offensive upside. A guy who could drive greater possession for the line, through more cycling and who was able to spend productive time in and around the blue paint.

    Geez – we got him, for Scrivens.

    I am sure that there are a number of players in the NHL who have had similar incidents, and many more who easily could have ended a bender – except for luck, by wrapping their car around a tree or worse.

    Not to entirely excuse the behavior – but let’s not get carried away – declaring besmirchment of an Oiler jersey and the need for devine intervention.

    Check out a few of the youtube videos that are available on the internet, from a few years back. Playing hockey, at home in Windsor, at the gym – etc.

    Looks like a pretty good guy to me – in general.

    Looks like a guy who knows what it is to be in shape – be strong, be quick – from his work in the gym with a trainer.

    Looks like the kind of player the Oilers desperately need more of, from Canucks highlights.

    The Gagner thing – who cares. Geez – it’s NHL hockey and stuff like that happens. Sure – careless with the stick but you replay that play 1,000 times and a broken jaw is a 1 in a 1,000. Anyone really think that Kassian tried to break Gagner’s jaw? Expect that Kassian was gonna apologize or give Gagner a hug in front of a jeering crowd? Or – giving the jeering crowd an opportunity for joyful redemption by – maybe, letting your @ss get kicked by Gadzic. C’mon get real.

    This is a great no risk move by PC.

    I fully expect that Kassian will make the most of the opportunity.

    I would not be surprised if it ends up being

    Hall – Drai – Kassian

    and that’s the kind of line that will help drive a successful playoff run.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I believe in 2 years or less the name Z. Kassian will be mentioned along the lines of

    “remember when the Deadmonton traded for Z. Kassian and actually thought he was going to be able to help their team? HAhahahahahahaha”

    Dude’s a loser and if he CAN make your team next year, you guys are in worse shape than you think lol. I hope he does make it lol.

    IF Gazdic, Nurse, Klinkhammer, Khaira, Hendricks aren’t enough to bring team toughness than KAssian won’t help lol. There are fundamental problems with this organization and its been here for years. They don’t stick up for each other, they cower and run instead of manning up for each other and it hasn’t changed. It’s a mentality. Too many hot shot top picks who feel entitled and that they don’t need to get dirty.
    I hope to someday see the Coil ice a team including Gazdic, Nurse, Klinkhammer, Khaira, Hendricks and KAssian however. Can you say 15-1 thrashing ? lol

    • The Soup Fascist


      Not sure what makes people more sleepy. Christmas turkey or the same tired old schtick from Ziggy.

      Seriously, take the holidays to come up with some new material. You will feel better, we will feel better, and your Mom will feel better as it will keep you from wandering around the mean streets that make up the “Lil’ Manor Estates” Trailer Court in Cochrane.

      Happy New Year, Little Buddy.

  • For reference, if not done already – have a listen to the Chiarelli interview. It speaks volumes. He’s not unaware the Defence has holes, but needs more time evaluating what parts need to stay, and which parts need to go. Klefbom and Davidson out, Reinhart waking up, Hunt moved up to bolster PP, McDavid dynamic out (he makes everyone better)

  • I find the top tweet humorous in this context.

    when the gags thing went down…. none of the MSM guys with room access bothered to press Hall about Kassian (given their Mem Cup history and such I thought it obvious).
    It is a void that always struck me as somewhat odd.

    Now, when asked about the recent trade.. Hall spews out the party line… good employee that he is.

  • BobbyCanuck

    What has Chia ever done? Brought the Cup to his team for the first time since 1972. Pretty big potatoes in my books.

    All you posters that come here only to rag on our team, what has your team ever done? Please, I want to know where you get your high horse attitude from, it certainly is not from your teams performance over the last 30 years or whenever.

    DOn’t you get tired of blithering about the same old same old day after day?

    Don’t care what Kassian has done in the past, if you have no regrets, you have not lived a life worth living.

    10 game conditioning stint and he will be ready