Former Oilers bruiser Zack Kassian announces retirement
By Zach Laing1 month ago
Zack Kassian is hanging up the skates.
After a 12-year career with the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and most recently, the Arizona Coyotes, Kassian announced his retirement Thursday.
“To play in the NHL is one thing, but to make a 12-year career of it is pretty special,” Kassian said, by way of the NHLPA. “From coaches to equipment staff and fellow players I’ve met along the way, I’ve made so many relationships that are going to last a lifetime.”
The lumbering forward was known for his physical play, never shying away from the big hit or fight. But Kassian also didn’t shy from showing off some silk in those mitts, too, scoring 92 goals and 203 points across his 661-game career.
Kassian’s longest stint came with the Oilers, from whom he played seven seasons. Edmonton acquired him from the Canadiens in Dec. 2015, which saw goaltender Ben Scrivens sent the other way. It was in Northern Alberta where Kassian enjoyed the best years of his career.
Across 412 games, he scored 55 goals and 135 points, and in 2019-20, he had a career season. Kassian played on the Oilers’ top line for the bulk of the season alongside Connor McDavid, where the bruising forward set career highs in goals (15), assists (19), and points (34).
Kassian left a memorable mark in the 2017 playoffs with the Oilers. He scored three goals in 13 games, but was nothing short of dominant with his physicality.
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Another of Kassian’s more infamous moments came that season, when he feuded with Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. It was a rivalry that reignited the discontent between two teams who have never gotten along.
That season also earned Kassian a four-year contract extension paying him $3.2-million per year. He, however, was never able to live up to the lofty expectations that came with it, and the deal was one the organization ultimately needed to find its way out of.
At the 2022 draft, Kassian was traded in a salary relief deal to the Coyotes, and played out the remaining year of that contract in the desert appearing in 51 games. This year, he joined the Anaheim Ducks on a professional tryout, but didn’t earn a contract with the team.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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