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Forecasting Zack Kassian for 2021

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Chicago Blackhawks v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

I got an email from the boss saying we will be doing a forecasting series on certain players and how we think they’ll do. I immediately volunteered to project how I think Zack Kassian’s season will go. The other option was Nurse and that would’ve been a lot of fun too!

Quick and Dirty Backstory

  • 1st round pick by Buffalo
  • Played for Canada at World Juniors
  • Strong
  • Fast
  • Can punch
  • Not many players like him (he’s more skilled than Ryan Reaves and not very close to Tom WIlson)
  • Had some personal issues (that he overcame with tremendous resolve)
  • Eventually traded to Edmonton for Ben Scrivens
  • His agent was seeking a trade when he was being healthy scratched by the Oil.
  • Got put on first line and had career numbers
  • Signed an extenision and cashed in on his potential and hard work!

Misperceptions!

I feel like that’s a pretty fair summary of how we got here. There are many things I read about Zack Kassian that are simply not true:

He Penalty Kills (he did one shift all of last season, he has penalty killed in the past but his entire job is to play 5 on 5 with McDavid)

He’s super fast (maybe the 10th fastest Oiler?)

Other players are intimidated when he is on the ice and he protects McDavid (this wasn’t true for Lucic and it’s not true now. I can’t think of one NHL player that is scared of playing Kassian. FTR, if Zack shows up at one of my pickup games I will be scared out of my mind but I am not a NHL player)

He’s a 30 to 50 point scorer (10 seasons and he’s got more than 30 points ONCE in his entire career. He has 177 pts in 525 games and that is roughly a 27 point player per 82 game seasons)

He is a playoff warrior (0 points in last play-in, 3 points in 25 career NHL Playoff games)

Shiny new contract!

On January 30th, 2020 Kassian got a new contract. 3.2 x 4 for 12.8 million dollars! Kassian turns 30 this month. Since the date of signing his new contract, Kassian has 6 points in 14 games. 0 in the 4 game playin. So 6 points in 18 games. Since that date he has also been suspended for 7 games. So he’s had more suspended games than points since signing that new contract.

2021 projection

Kassian’s contract kicks in this season. He turns 30 at the end of the month and we have him for 4 years. I have asked this question many times and will ask again.

Can anyone name a player that got more points in their 30’s then they did in their 20’s?

I cannot. Kassian’s 20’s saw him as a 27 point player. I have no reason to think there is a 50 point scorer here. I have no reason to think there is a 1RW here.

However, if you look at lineups. There is Kassian on line 1 with McDavid and RNH. Those 6 points he has gotten since that new contract must’ve really turned some heads in the Oiler’s head office.

My season prediction based on 56 games is going to be 18 points (I’m using his career average of .33). That is assuming he can play all 56 games. 2 reasons he may not play 56 games? One, he will be in his 30’s. Two, he occasionally gets suspended (he was suspended on 2 different occasions in 2020).

I also think he’ll start on line 1 and get a boost playing with McDavid and RNH but that he will eventually lose that spot and go to the bottom 6 (where he is excellent and a nice addition but not at 3.2 million). He will have some excellent bottom 6 linemates but don’t expect him back on the PK anytime soon.

My bolder prediction is that, by the end of the season, the people that don’t think this is a boat anchor of a contract and some of Holland’s worst work will see how bad this contract is. Time will tell!

Poll

How many points will Kassian get in 56 games?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    1 to 10
    (11 votes)
  • 29%
    11 to 20
    (111 votes)
  • 48%
    21 to 30
    (181 votes)
  • 15%
    31 to 40
    (57 votes)
  • 3%
    41 to 50
    (14 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now