PF

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
    coverage.

WHY DID THE OILERS TRADE FOR HIM?

WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE HIM?

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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      I agree the Gagner high stick was reprehensible. But on the other hand we get rid of a contract that was weighing us down, give Scrivens another shot at the show,and add a player that might give the Oilers some grit. All we need now is to get rid of MacT’s other albatrosses and we can move forward.

    • Oilers4ever

      PC didn’t run that team. As such he owes no loyalty to anyone over what occurred. It’s a reclamation project trade for both teams. Time will tell who wins it.

  • Serious Gord

    loved brad park as a player and maybe even more for his opinions and candidness in retirement.

    It’s a shame he was so overshadowed by Orr as he may be in the top ten maybe even five best defensemen ever.

    He had all of the tools not least of which was fierceness. It’s too bad he and Orr never really got to play together on the Bruins or for Canada.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

          • 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

            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?

      • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • Dirtski

    Many thanks for linking to my brief analysis of Kassian (i.e., the BeerLeagueHeroes article).

    For those interested, I made a recent revision in which I compared his career scoring rate (shooting%) with and without the Sedins. With the Sedins, his rate was an unsustainable 22%. Without the Sedins, it was 11.7%. Still, this rate is high-end for a bottom-6 forward.

    I am hopeful he will thrive with the team, but it is ultimately up to him. The drug rehab programs are intense and patients learn a lot about themselves. Was it enough? Has he grown as a person beyond controlling his drinking? We’ll see in time.

    • tileguy

      I’m curious about the differing percentages with the Sedins and away from the Sedins.

      It reminds me of the old saying that a fire hydrant could score at Gretzky. Applying that to the current Oil, I’d think it reasonable that Kassian will score at a much higher % playing with Hall/Draisatl or with McDavid, and that higher scoring % would be sustainable due to the superior quality of linemates. I’d expect Kassian scores very little playing with Lander.

      So how do you determine what’s realistically sustainable, based on the very different offensive skill level and usage of a Drai/Hall versus a Lander line?

  • tileguy

    Hall seems to think highly of Kassian , and that resonates more than Coach and GM comments . Also gives us much needed depth on R Wing should Eberle or Yak falter .

    • CMG30

      Putting stock in a players verbal about anything is not a great idea. Players get hammered with media training before they ever skate in their first NHL game. The NHL teaches them to be as non-offensive (boring) as possible in their media avails. They are also expected to be positive and supportive with anything the team does. This is reinforced with one way tickets out of town for anyone who dares speak their mind instead of towing the company line. Players are super carefull about this. They have to be. Just look at the circus around Stamkos and his ‘like’.

      Not to say that Hall doesn’t like Kassian. He very well might. It’s just that he’d never tell us either way.

      • YFC Prez

        Well would you look at that. Hall hate is still a thing. He’s 4th in league scoring. He has been the best player on the oilers this season and that isn’t even debatable.

        A Hawks fan who wants to trade Kane for his cab driver allegations or Seguin for his Twitter nonsense would look like a total idiot. Hall is right in the chase with these 2, has never been caught doing anything too out of line in a complete fish bowl hockey town. Really, I’m curious, why is he a “punk”?

        How dumb it must sound to the rest of the league when fans of this team Hate on hall the way some of us do.

  • Delete

    Several spots Kassian might fit in with his physical game . Hall , Draisaitl and Zack , or with Hopkins and Zach , or even McDavid and Zack . Could also be a force on 4th line . Seems like a utility player able to move up and down the lineup effectively . Purcell , Eberle and Yak not exactly physical players .

  • tileguy

    I’m not a shrink, but I’m guessing his chances of turning his life around, finding God and getting in game shape are slim at best. He’s had all the chances in the world but addiction is a nasty beast. Good luck to him, 13th overall pick, size and wired for crazy is what the Oil need, but lets be realistic….

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Oilers fans know everything they need to know about Kassian. He’s a jerk of the first order and a player with no character.

    This trade also tells us a lot about the character and judgment of Charelli. He is willing to bring poison into his hockey operations to cover his initial mistakes. I hope the young and developing players in the organization don’t pick up a lot of bad habits from him.

    Kassian will besmirch the Oilers reputation and brand.

    Besides, the greatest weakness of the club is defence. When does it get fixed Charelli?

    • The Soup Fascist

      I sincerely hope you are kidding.

      Heaven forbid the Oilers good name, brand and reputation get “besmirched”.

      That ship has kind of sailed – due to a decade of no playoffs and unheard of futility. The management group over the last decade has been the equivalent of the drunk uncle with his fly open at the reunion.

      Hate to break it to you but with Zack Kassian or without Zack Kassian, until this team puts a few winning seasons together there is not a great reputation to uphold.

      Al Davis was a nut ….. but after this stretch of futility, no three words can be more fitting.

      Just win, baby.

      Ok. Three more: “fix the defence”.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    Virtually no trades to address a shabby D and the Oil trot Kassian out? Chiarelli did say if this player fails to get his sh*t together he’ll never see NHL ice with the Oil. I hope the guy succeeds and cleans up his act. My guess is he may hear some boos if he does come up to Edmonton but that hopefully will be short-lived.

    His reaction to injuring Gagner was classless in the extreme. Funny how what goes around comes around. His behaviour after the fact may draw him some awkward questions by media and fans…but Kassian has deserved some of thr coming heat.