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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Miles to go on an interesting trade.

  • Sammy D

    It make take me more than 10 minutes to accept him…

    While I am all for 2nd chances, he really did a number to the Oilers with the swinging stick and his response.

    Time will tell. I do hope that he can rid himself of his demons.

  • Serious Gord

    I think we need a hole bunch of big, tough and crazy to protect McDavid, RNH, Hall and Draisaitl. Trading a struggling AHL goalie for a player that is those things and has some skill is brilliant, even if it doesn’t work out. If PC can add one of Byfuglien or Lucic this summer in addition to Kassian, Nurse, and Gazdic we are no longer going to be pushed around. And if teams go after our skilled players that are going to pay a heavy price.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    If ZK can get his life back in order then this trade is a win.
    If the Oilers can assist him in becoming a functioning human being then this trade is a win.
    Never mind playing hockey. I’d just like to see the kid get his life squared away.

    We’ve had too many NHL players lose the game of life.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    They had an interesting stat during the Flames game; defensemen on playoff teams score at least 120 points during the season. It was game 35 for the Flames and they were already at 78 points. Giordano had a slow start but his play has picked up a lot and they’re starting to win games.

    What does this have to do with Kassian? Nothing. If you’re playing Gryba, Jultz, Nikitin and Hunt on your blueline, it almost doesn’t matter who your forwards are; you’re going to lose more than you win.

  • CMG30

    I do strongly dislike Kassian ever since his gutless stick to the chops there.

    But I do have to admit that this makes a lot of sense for Chirelli. There is the slight possibility that Kassian could turn into a Lucic and the cost to acquire him was minimal. In fact, moving Scrivens out of the system is also a benifit. AHL game time now goes to the prospects, as it should.

    But, frankly, I kind of quit caring what the Oilers do. I’m just tired of watching them drop turds all over the ice.

    • Dirtski

      Stopped caring really? Most people who don’t follow the oilers don’t follow the oilers or respond to oiler blogs. Just sayin

      Chia seemed edgy during the Kassian interview. Suppose he is pissed at the team? He just seemed angry and on edge when answering questions.

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        If you had to answer the same question four different ways you’d be annoyed too.

        Let’s face it, if you started a job and your whole first year was spent cleaning someone else’s mess up, instead of concentrating on the here and now you’d be pretty miserable too.

        Just saying.

        • Delete

          Cleaning up someone else’s mess is the very definition of getting hired in pro sports.

          If there was no mess, Chiarelli wouldn’t have been hired. Or Nicholson. Or McLellan. Comes with the job.

          Someone is right now cleaning up the mess that Chiarelli left behind in Boston.

          • Delete

            My original comment was not to compare situations, but to respond to a comment excusingt Chiarelli’s churlishness because he had to “clean up a mess.”

            My only point was that almost all coaches, gm’s and executives are brought in to “clean up a mess.” It’s part of the job description.

            Regrettably, I was suckered off-topic into comparing Edmonton’s situation to Boston’s.

          • bradleypi

            Lol. Oilersnation has a tendency to do that. The hatred for Mact is strong with these ones. Everyone here seems to forget that Sweeney traded a huge asset in lucic to clean up the “mess” pc left there. If only pc had some trade chips here in edmonton to work with…… oh well. We got Kassian! I am getting a little tired of the Chiarelli apologists around here who give pc a free pass for sitting on his hands because it was “all Macts fault”. Like you say. This is nothing new. Gms are hired every year to clean up someone’s mess.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            It is a little hard to off-load prior managements doings in 1 year with 95% of the teams close to the cap. The bigger moves are always done in the off season. Give the guy a break, it’s not NHL16 lol!

            What were you expecting exactly?

          • bradleypi

            What did he do all summer? Why didnt he make a trade then? Just because you say “it’s not nhl16” doesn’t make your point valid. Are you saying in the entire history of the nhl there has never been a big trade mid season? Hamonic is sitting there waiting to be traded. Why is he not an oiler? He’s everything this team needs. Or does oilersnation think Chiarelli needs a whole year to realize that this group is not a good mix? Was Chiarelli not a gm in Boston for years? How can he not know who is a good or bad player in the nhl or the oilers. I know players on other teams and I know which ones I’d like and which ones I wouldn’t. How can he not when he’s got a front row seat to games and the draft?

          • Serious Gord

            I expect chia to trade a “huge asset” or two within the next 8 months or so to try and fix the oil mess. So the only difference likely will be how quickly that was done. And that can be chalked up to the fact that chia did not know the quality of the assets he had and that now that he does the trade window was essentially closed. Let’s see what he does at the deadline and in the off season. Criticizing him for not making moves yet is silly.

            I just wished it was EDM that got Lucic. Unfortunately that wasn’t going to happen under chia.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        I like watching his interviews, he doesn’t beat around the bush like the last 2 GMs did.

        Maybe he’s mad he can’t get Hamonic for Shultz straight up because he’s realizing Shultz can’t defence.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    He’s not here to be a role model but knows his role and what got him to the NHL.

    if he comes in with the right attitude and will throw other teams players off their game by being physical and intimidating, I’m all for it.

    The Oilers need to shed off the reputation of being easy to play against.

    On a side note (not saying this is an exact comparable) but remember how a majority of fans weren’t a huge fan of Hendricks and his contract in the Dubnyk deal? He’s a fan favourite now.

    I’m hoping Kassian can do the same.

  • CDNinATL

    The more I think about this trade, the more I kinda like it. He’s on a very short leash as PC said earlier today. And I like that Scivens is getting a shot with a good team. I’m not certain if he’ll get any starts in Montreal but you’d think at least a couple before Price comes back.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    He was not traded here to take over from Gadzic, different player…more upside offensively and skill wise. If you haven’t noticed Gadzic hasn’t exactly been playing the enforcer role as of late. I think he has been working on being a reliable 4th liner that can be trusted to play 7-9 mins a night and throw down when needed. I don’t think anyone is questioning Gadzic’s pugilist skills and it is cool to see a guy adapting to today’s NHL by making a conscious effort to play another way instead of going the way of the dodo bird.Fighting seems to be on its way out and will become a one off in the years to come.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Y’all skirting the issue here: if he is sober. Sobriety will make the most difference in his life and in his career. He needs to find a way to be clean first. Expecting him to protect your star is not the most realistic vision at this point.

  • tileguy

    Optimist in me is saying that this will have a great turnout, reformed power forward that scares the bejezus in the other team. Score goals, opens up ice for the skilled guys and dressing room leader.

    On the other hand, it really didn’t cost us nothing. Flip a coin.

  • D

    Really folks, this is a free pick up for the most part. He has a personality that at present, the Oil are void off. I see no downside in this. If he does not come to the Oil with eyes wide open, then off he goes to the “I once was a NHL player pile of has been’s”.

    He has a lot to prove and we need an aggressive style of player who can piss of the opposition constantly, just like he did to the Oil and us fans at one time.

  • Serious Gord

    I think we’re all forgetting he’s not coming to play top six. He’s going to Bakersfield, to prove he can be a pro, coachable, and a good team mate. He will need to win fans over down on the farm, before he has a chance to prove himself on the team.

    • TheYarish

      Kudos. This sentiment is noteworthy.

      Folks can say what they like about MacT’s GM record, but I’d like to think that there’s no one better suited in the NHL to help Kassian kick his habits and learn to be successful in living. If nothing more comes of this, it was a classy move by the Oilers, especially considering getting Scrivens another chance.

  • Oilers4ever

    It’s like flipping a coin – Ben gets a chance with Habs, and Kassian gets one with the Oil. Habs get a goalie who has been good but is really struggling, Oilers get a forward who plays well (when he feels like it)and could give us the grit we need. As for his hit on Gagner? Of course we all hate him for that, but would we have hated him as much if he broken Goudreaus’ jaw? (wishful thinking – would rather him taken out at the knees)or any other NHL player. I say give him a chance and let him prove his way back to the NHL and see where he’s at by the end of the season. Even leopards can changes their spots……sometimes. Protect McDavid if you make it back to the NHL Zack, do that and you are a hero.

  • 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.