Kassian close to re-signing


Bob McKenzie tweeted the following early this morning.

I made some inquiries and it is basically a done deal. 

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What will his salary be?

Kassian made $2 million last year, but he had a cap hit of $1.75 million having made $1.5 million in 2014/2015. He was on his entry-level deal prior to this two-year deal.

Kassian tallied 3-5-8 in 36 games with the Oilers, after scoring 10-6-16 in 42 games with the Canucks in 2015.

I suspect Kassian’s one-year deal will be around the $1.5 million.

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Near the end of the season head coach Todd McLellan said he sees Kassian as a bottom-six forward moving forward. Kassian has the ability to moonlight in your top-six when injuries occur, but McLellan and the Oilers see him as a physical forward, who is good on the forecheck and cycle.

McLellan had Kassian killing penalties in practice for the last month of the season. He didn’t use him there in games very often, but McLellan is hoping to use him in that role next year if he proves he can be effective on the PK. Kassian skates very well for a big man, and with Patrick Maroon and Benoit Pouliot on the roster, it is unlikely Kassian will be on the PP standing in front of the net.

To be a successful bottom six forward you need to be able to play on one of the special teams unit, usually killing penalties, and that’s why McLellan had Kassian learning how to PK in practice. McLellan was very honest with Kassian about the role he sees him playing on the team.

“I think when he came in the league people looked at him to be a top-six forward, and he put a lot of pressure on himself to play that role. I don’t see him fitting that role regularly now, but he has the skill to be a useful bottom-six forward for us,” McLellan said in late March.

What I like about Kassian is he has a dimension to his game. He is not a nondescript player. He is physical. He also has enough skill to make plays and he’s an excellent skater. Consistency is his biggest enemy on the ice, and a one-year deal makes a lot of sense for all parties.

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Kassian wants to prove he can be an effective, reliable NHler and his off-ice issues are in the rearview mirror. GM Peter Chiarelli needs to see more from Kassian, so a one-year deal fits both sides.

Kassian has only played more than 42 NHL games in a season once, when he played 73 in 2013/2014. That was also his most productive campaign, scoring 14-15-29.

A one-year deal at $1.5 million makes a lot of sense for me. Does it for you?


The Oilers made it official at noon. He has signed a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.

Edmonton First Responders Day

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On June 9th, the City of Edmonton will be announcing the first
annual First Responders Day in an effort to honour those that risk their
lives to keep our city safe.

First Responders Day will be an
official day where we to honour, celebrate, and support the first
responders and their families, in addition to raising mental health
awareness within the occupation. The event will showcase dozens of large
fire vehicles, bomb squad display, canine dogs, jaws of life
demonstration, raffles, live music, chili-cook off and much more.

If you would like to donate money to the cause there is a GoFundMe public campaign page for fundraising at www.gofundme.com/yegfirstresponders.
Monies raised will be going to Legacy Place Society – as they wish to
purchase a new house in Edmonton so they can better support all first
responders and their families during times of crisis.

More information is available at www.facebook.com/yegfirstresponders

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  • ubermiguel

    Works for me, he’s got “crust” as Pat Quinn (RIP) used to say. Funny how 7 years on we’re still looking for crust or jam or whatever you want to call it.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      ya, it’s real funny how years later, we’re STILL looking for size up front and decent defense! thanks a lot for being so inept Lowe/Tambo/MacT!

  • RJ

    I guess it depends which Kassian shows up. If he’s engaged in the game, then Kassian is great on the roster, and a steal at $1.5m. But if it’s the invisible Kassian who is there more often than engaged Kassian, then I’d rather let him walk.

    This is Kassian’s show me season. If he wants to be an NHLer, he has to deliver.

    (Personally, I would rather see someone like Khaira come up from Bakersfield to play that role.)

    • someguy

      Khaira has way too many injury issues – moreso than Kassian. At this point he’s no more than a bubble player – Kassian is a legit proven NHL player. Besides, Kassian is more experienced anyway and assuming the money is the rumoured $1.5 mill, that’s about what bottom 6 guys make anyway.

      Khaira will be good for depth and if he makes the big league roster than great, but I’d still rather have Kassian on the team than him at this point.

  • gongshow

    As an RFA why isn’t Kassian due 100% of his 2015/16 cap hit as a qualifying offer? I’m guessing that it is because the Oilers aren’t concerned about maintaining his restricted status or losing him to another bidder. Is that correct?

    • bazmagoo

      I was also under the impression that $2 mil was the minimum offer he’d need with his RFA status, but I’m no CBA expert by any stretch. $1.5 mil would be great, $2 mil would be fine – but both definitely only for 1 year.

    • vetinari

      I’m guessing you are correct. I’m also guessing Kassian holds a lot of goodwill towards the Oilers as they got him back onto an NHL roster when other teams were avoiding him.

      The lesson is don’t underestimate building relationships between management and players as it could pay dividends in the form of reduced salary expectations on future transactions.

    • Spiel

      You are correct according to the CBA. The qaulifying offer is for a one year deal.
      So the Oilers can offer $2M for one year or that can offer less than $2M for a multi-year deal.

      I don’t see why Kassian (or his agent) would sign a one year deal for less than $2M without the chance to be a UFA first.

      • S cottV

        I don’t either.

        Kassian is a better player than meets the eye.

        I wouldn’t commit to Edmonton, until you at least know that Yak is outta here and there is no way to be stuck playing with him – on the 3rd line.

        Playing with Yak is enough to cost a guy like Kassian a few million dollars.

      • pkam

        We have Maroon for another year at 1.5M, would you rather have Maroon or Kassian?

        The Ducks traded Maroon to us for a 4th round pick but they had to keep 0.5M when Maroon was scoring 0.23 ppg. Kassian was scoring at 0.22 ppg this season. And with his addiction history, you really think a lot of teams will be interested in him for 2M?

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Maybe Kassian sees that he has a future here and maybe for once in his pro career he feels that he is in a good spot.
        Maybe he doesn’t want to move around anymore. Culture is changing in Edmonton and maybe this is like a person taking a hometown discount.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        I guess this is why he signed in Edmonton. Tweet from Kassian…

        “opportunity to show that I’ve changed my life around… I’m beyond happy.” @zkassian9 on signing #Oilers contract

  • Chungerr

    If it is around $1.5M then this deal will be low risk and another opportunity for Kassian to show that he belongs here. I can see him exceeding expectations.

  • OilCan2

    I like the deal if it goes down @ $1.5M – 1yr. & if he provides secondary scoring from the bottom half of the roster and excels on the PK.

    He sincerely seems like he’s reaching for the brass ring and I hope he is or its career AHL.

  • S cottV

    I think that Kassian has a little more to offer than what met the eye this year.

    Don’t like the way he was utilized but part was due to McClellan having limited time to assess different player combinations – given the McD and RNH injuries.

    You want to give a guy a handful of games in different roles to really get an idea as to a true fit.

    With Kassian – it was half game here, one game there – too many games with Yak and a mercy escape to the 4th to get away from him, before Kassian lost his mind.

    On that note – please, move Yak outta here. The latest quirk involving the Russian National team is enough already. He has little to no value and it’s diminishing – if that’s possible.

    Even the Russians know he can’t play.

    With the right 3rd line centreman, I see Maroon and Kassian being effective book ends to get some rugged cycling and o zone possession going.

  • madjam

    Russians not using Yak could prove fruitful for Oilers and Yak’s career . He should now be satisfied being on any position on the Oilers and make appropriate additions, such as better back checking , better use of linemates , and defence to his game , to remain an NHL player even if below top 6 level . Yak playing at an overall level almost to low to move him and Oilers might hope to increase that during next seasons play .

  • Sure he started out strong when he first joined the Oilers but then became invisible for most of remaining games. I say its a wasted contract unless he can be sent down to Bakersfield

    • Lofty

      A good offseason of conditioning and a full training camp should help him maintain his play through the course of a full season.

      I don’t think his last offseason could be described as optimal.

  • McRaj

    Question is, can he play First Pairing Right Shot D?

    In all seriousness, a good signing with barely any risk. Now go get us that top pairing Right Shot D Peter.

    • madjam

      Funny : Our top defensive pair could be transformed Kassian on right and Maroon on left . Burns can do it , but I doubt either of them could .

      You want a decent R.defenseman without using main top 3 forwards , then you might be best using prospects on left side of the overabundance of left defenseman . We already have a top 2 lefties in Sekara and Klefbom with Davidson trending well . Use Reinhart and Nurse . Should have used Nurse to get Hamilton in the first place . Doubt Nurse will ever be as good or effective as Hamilton . Reinhart may still turn out to be a dud . Who knows for certain just how well Draisaitl will turn out .

      Pittsburg got better by keeping their main core together (Malkin, Crosby , Kunitz , Letang and Fleury ) , and gutting rest of club surrounding them , and we should be doing the same .

      • McRaj

        I agree with some of the things you just said. I agree that Klef can play first pairing left side (hopefully he stays healthy) and Sekera can play second pair left side. Davidson looks like he can play third pair left. Reinhart trade was awful value (imagine having Barzal or Connor to either plug into line-up or trade bait) but he seems to be ahead of Nurse in his development. I am not sold on Drai as other’s are and especially other fan bases.

        Now, if we can get a top pairing Right Shot (Faulk, Barrie, Hamonic, Shatty (signed), Pietro, etc) then I am ready to trade any player not named Hall/Klef/McDavid. Pitts core is Malkin, Crosby, Letang, Fleury. Remember when Jordan Stall was a part of their core, yet they still traded him. Our untouchable core right now should be Connor and Hall with Klefbom/Nurse/one of Nuge or Drai close to untouchable. Eberle/The other of Nuge and Drai/anyone else should be made available to get that top pairing Right Shot.

  • madjam

    Zach is probably into his best/productive season at age 25. Having beat his demons should prove useful to him and club . Feel he is still on the upside of getting better . He has size and toughness we seem to like , and on R wing , a sore spot with Yak not trending well as yet , and only a softer Eberle to fill the right side forward deficiency . Zach is a player that can have modest success moving up and down the lineup . Zach could perhaps become a decent special teams player , at least a good fillin .

  • camdog

    Zach at this stage of his career is a guy that expects to score 10 goals and 10 assists. Generally during a cap crunch year a guy of his skill set would be happy to be playing in the NHL. Due to the issues he’s had over the past few years he doesn’t really have much value around the NHL, but he does have a fit here in Edmonton. If he can get 1.5 million per season that’s a big win for Kassian. If he can get 2 years that’s even better.

    • Unclemomma.com

      Oh right, Korpi. All one of the bloggers has to do for most posters on here, is tell them what to think. So they have rounded up KORP as the whipping boy, and the sheep has followed. My bad, I thought it was Ebs.

      Kassian had about 10 decent games last year, then disappeared, but Jason says 1.5 M is good….and there you go…now almost all you baby ducks are following mommy….
      Kassian is a bum, until he proves he’s not…And he’s a “great skater” also Jason? Really? You use the word great, and mean it? .

  • SkatinginSand

    The Oilers would be crazy to offer Kassian more than $1,5. Kassian would be crazy not to accept any offer, he has burnt his bridges with most, if not all other teams.

  • Hemi

    Even the nay sayers cannot argue with this signing. Good for the Oil and good for the player. Both parties need to determine their respective positions. Opportunity has presented itself.

  • Hey did anyone hear Lowetide’s list this morning?
    Overpay Demers, trade Yak for Severson, rehire Purcell, sign Enroth, and there was something else about hiring a third line centre. Oh ya, trade Mark Fayne for Tyler Bozak.

    Not terrible but I’m not sure Demers and Severson would be enough to fix the D.

    Personally I would try and trade for Trouba. He may not be a number one right now, but just coming of his ELC, he could likely turn that corner very soon ala Headman.

  • OTOF2

    Has it really come to this? Probably not one other team in the NHL would want this POS in their dressing room (Montreal wouldn’t even let him report to their minor league team) and Oilers are happy to have him? I wonder if he still mocks his now team mates like he did after the Gagner incident? The rest of the Oilers are probably pissed to have to welcome this clown into the room and let him put on the team crest. Pathetic.

    • You don’t believe that a 25-year old can make mistakes, learn from them, and change their lives? Besides, the Oilers haven’t had a player type like this in years and wouldn’t you rather have one on the team rather than playing against them all the time?

  • CMG30

    I’m ok with this. Cap hit not too bad if he stays on the 3rd line and another year to show that he can be more.

    Despite the verbal from the Oilers, I thought that Kassian was not in great shape when he came over to the Oil this year. In my mind this was a prime reason for his seeming to tail off after the first few weeks. If he can approach that initial level of play next season and sustain it, I’ll be very happy with this player.

  • Dreadguy

    A good signing IMO.

    Now PC should go out and get Backes (UFA 6mil range) and trade RNH (for D) so we can enjoy a Maroon-Backes-Kassian line. It might be a far-fetched idea, but wouldn’t it be fun to watch a 700lb line defend the new barn?