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What Should Zack Kassian’s Next Contract Look Like?

Former first round pick a spark plug for Oilers

Detroit Red Wings v Edmonton Oilers
Kassian: 6-15-21 this year.
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

dRemember Canuck Zack Kassian? Yeah, nobody wants to remember that. Kind of a nuisance. He really became everyone’s favourite person in Edmonton after a very reckless high stick on then-Oiler Sam Gagner.

Fast forward to late December, 2015. Kassian was dealt from Montréal to the Oilers for goaltender Ben Scrivens. Scrivens had found himself in the AHL with Bakersfield at that point, and Edmonton would take a risk on a player who hadn’t played an NHL game since being dealt to Montréal from Vancouver nine months prior. It was a gamble, sure. The worst that could happen to the Oilers would be that they lost their third string goalie.

Kassian’s 2015-16 season began in Bakersfield for a handful of games. He played his first game as an Oiler on January 14th, 2016 against the San Jose Sharks. Kassian amassed eight points (3-5-8) in 38 total games most often alongside Mark Letestu and Taylor Hall, though he averaged only a little more than twelve minutes a night.

It’s fair to say that Kassian wasn’t brought in for his soft hands. Rather, Kassian was likely brought in for all of that ‘big body’ talk you hear about. Listed at 6’3” and 215, Kassian’s pretty good at holding his own. That’s not something I value at the top of the list, but having bigger bodies that can play is something that definitely works.

Though Kassian isn’t regarded as a wizard with the puck, he’s got seven goals and seventeen assists in 79 games this season. He’s played this season alongside Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu earlier on and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as of late. He still averages just a little more than twelve minutes a game, which is good for eighth overall in team TOI. He’s also had the misfortune of having a few goals called back, which could have given him ten on the season.

It’s important to note that he’s not a total scrub with the puck, but it’s also important to note that 20 goals seems like a far away land at this point. The Oilers got really good at signing guys like Darcy Hordichuk or Steve MacIntyre there for a while. Those guys were really great at playing two minutes a night and sitting in the penalty box for five more. These types of players were obsolete ten years ago. His GF60 sits at 2.57 while his GA60 is 2.23. He’s on the ice for more Oiler goals than goals against, which is relevant to my interests.

The question now is, how much of a roster spot is he worthy? And, what should his next deal look like?


Kassian’s current contract (1.5MM AAV) compares most to the following

  • Marcus Kruger, CHI (70 GP, 5-12-17, 34 PIM)
  • Peter Holland, TOR (40 GP, 5-6-11, 18 GP)
  • Jacob Josefson, NJ (38 GP, 1-9-10, 16 PIM)
  • Zemgus Girgensons, BUF (75 GP, 7-9-16, 18 PIM)


Kassian is an agitator and one of those guys you can send on the ice when you need him to cause trouble. He’s tenth in scoring on this year’s Oiler club playing on the third line. He’s probably a very good fourth line option, but the fourth line has been an interesting cocktail of Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev, Iiro Pakarinen, Matt Hendricks and Mark Letestu.

He’s on a one year deal with a 1.5 million AAV. He is also arbitration eligible.

So what does his next deal look like?


What does Zack Kassian’s next deal look like?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    1 year, 1.5-2 million
    (75 votes)
  • 2%
    1 year, 2 million+
    (21 votes)
  • 61%
    2 years, 1.5-2 million AAV
    (549 votes)
  • 25%
    2 years, 2 million+ AAV
    (224 votes)
  • 2%
    Something else (leave comment)
    (19 votes)
888 votes total Vote Now