It was a busy night Thursday for the Edmonton Oilers.
First, they traded Zack Kassian, the 29th overall pick, a 2025 2nd round pick and a 2024 3rd round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for pick No. 32 in the first round.
Then, they used that selection to take forward Reid Schaefer from the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
As the night wrapped up, both Holland and Schaefer spoke to the media in Montreal. Here’s what they had to say.

Holland

On the Kassian trade: “I talked to Bill Armstrong a number of times over the last seven to 10 days. We went through the numbers and it was obvious we had to try and get some cap space and as the draft wore on, Bill Armstrong swung by me and we picked up a conversation.”
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On if he regrets signing the Kassian contract: “I guess in life you make the decisions based on the information you got at the time and when the information changes, you have to roll with the punches. There’s a number of teams making similar moves around the league and I think much of it is pandemic related. Certainly, we didn’t want to trade draft picks but didn’t want to buy out zack, so here we are. When I signed him to that contract, my first year here, Yamamoto was in the American league. Puljujarvi was in Finland. Kane was somewhere else. Hyman was in Toronto. McLeod was in Bakersfield. In the last two years those players started to hit our team, our team got deeper and (Kassian’s) role was really diminished.”
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On Reid Schaefer: “It’s 32 in the draft, so everybody in the draft makes their decision then you pick the best player you think is left on the board. I saw him play for Seattle a couple times in the playoffs against the Oil Kings in the finals. He’s a big, strong, powerful guy. He scored 32, 33 goals this year. I think that if you want to be good, you have to have some big size on the wings. We like the character. He’s a local guy, he’s from Alberta, so people know lots about him. He’s got good character, now it’s the process of developing him into an Edmonton Oiler. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s competitive. He can shoot the puck in the net. I think he’s just got to continue developing as a young player and hopefully in two, three years — if not sooner — he’s on the Oilers.”
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On his priority with the cap space he has: “There’s so many things. Yamamoto is a restricted free agent, Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent. We’re talking with Kane. We’ve got to make a decision in goal. That’s where the cap space is going.”
On Duncan Keith’s status for next season: “I’ve got to talk to Duncan and his agent tomorrow. I’ve got a pretty good sense what he’s thinking. I think we’ll get to a solution in the next day or two.”

Schaefer

On growing up an Oilers fan: “I’ve had Oilers jerseys around the house when I was younger, growing up watching the playoff runs. I’m very pumped.”
On if he was thinking it was possible he could be picked when the oilers came on the clock: “Absolutely. I was nervous there at pick 32, and I knew Edmonton showed some interest. It was a dream come true. Very special.”
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On how he describes himself as a player: “I describe myself as a big, two-way power forward that’s got that offensive upside. I think I’m a pretty unique player that has a diverse style who can play up and down your lineup and both wings. I think I’m very versatile.”
On his playoff run with Seattle this year, what it can do for someone looking to make the next step: “Going on a long playoff run obviously brings more scouts in and all that stuff and attention to you. Without that team success, there wouldn’t be individual success. I credit that to the team, and how far we (went). We had a great group in that locker room. We’re hoping to do that next year, just try and win a whl championship.”
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On how the Thunderbirds helped him: “Ever since they drafted me as a 15-year-old kid, they took me under their wing and developed me. Without that coaching staff, I don’t think I’d be here today. Credit to them and I’m super excited.”
On his favourite Oiler growing up: “Growing up, it was Shawn Horcoff. Nowadays, it’s definitely mcdavid or draisaitl. Those guys are out of this league.”
On if he has some Shawn Horcoff, his favourite player growing up, in him: “Maybe a bit yeah (smiles).”
On watching the Oilers playoff run with his Seattle teammates: “We watched quite a bit, actually. We were in town for the colorado series because we were playing edmonton. We would eat at that Joey’s restaurant right outside rogers and watch it on the big screen. The coaches wouldn’t let us go out to the watch parties or any of that. That’s probably a good decision by them. (laughs) but we were watching.”
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On being a goal-scoring winger with elite playmakers like McDavid, draisaitl on the team: “The oilers are a great organization that develop well. It’s very exciting to be part of this organization and be a part of McDavid and Draisaitl’s as well.”
On being in Montreal: “I got in a couple days ago. Yesterday I had a lot of interviews. I think nine or something. Went in today trying to keep myself relaxed and calm. When pick 32 came around, I was nervous and on the edge of my seat. When I heard my name called, it was a sigh of relief and a dream come true. You dream about this your whole life and it’s awesome.”

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 [email protected]
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