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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports

Spector: Oilers, Kassian finding common ground in contract negotiations

The Edmonton Oilers and Zack Kassian appear to be making common ground in contract talks, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reported Friday.

Spector said his sense is that the club will announce a multi-year deal prior to the NHL trade deadline.

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Zack Kassian is on pace for career highs in every offensive category this season having posted 13 goals and 15 assists in 44 games this year. He’s playing a career-high of 16:15 per game this season and is shooting at 18.1 per cent at the time of writing, well above his career-high of 11.9.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with his agent, Rick Curran,” Oilers GM Ken Holland told Spector. “The hope is that we can keep him in an Oilers uniform. I love his passion, his physicality. He’s a presence, and I am aware of the big playoffs he had three years ago. There is still five months before free agency. I believe Kass loves it in Edmonton, so hopefully we can find a solution that works for him and us.”

He’s found himself a nice home on the Oilers top line alongside Connor McDavid providing a physical presence that has clearly chipped in well offensively, too.

There’s no denying that Kassian should be a member of the Edmonton Oilers moving forward, but the team needs to tread carefully in contract discussions. If Kassian, for example, were to be shooting his career-average of 11.9 per cent, the rugged winger would have 8.5 goals this season down from the 13 he has scored.

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I’d argue maybe a bit more than others that Kassian can be an effective player away from McDavid, but there’s not denying his numbers have seen a significant boost playing with the superstar.

It’ll be interesting to see if a deal does formulate ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

On Twitter: @zjlaing