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Edmonton Oilers Want Zack Kassian however Not at Any Price

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Edmonton Oilers ahead Zack Kassian is an simple commodity. His talent and dimension are an ideal match alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the highest line. Kassian’s removed from value his weight in gold although, in case the Oilers get any ill-advised concepts.

Kassian Finds a Residence

It’s an particularly topical topic, as Kassian approaches unrestricted free company for the primary time in his profession, as he seeks a elevate from his present $2 million wage. And he has not dissatisfied in his contract season, making it a profession one besides.  

However,
none of this implies Kassian is a top-liner. A fast look at his stats would
reveal simply that, how, if this have been a chicken-and-the-egg argument, there would
be no precise debate: Not solely has Kassian by no means been a authentic top-six
ahead, however McDavid and Draisaitl make Kassian one and definitely not the opposite
method round.

Suppose
of it extra as a chicken-and-the-peacock state of affairs. Just like with apples and
oranges, the Oilers can’t con themselves into considering they’ve obtained one thing
they haven’t, can’t get distracted by what they see at first look.

For
instance, Kassian is already simply three factors off the career-high 29 factors he
scored in all of 2013-14 with the Vancouver Canucks. He’s simply three targets
away from setting a brand new profession excessive in targets, after netting 15 final yr. Whereas
it’s spectacular that Kassian is theoretically on tempo for a 50-point season,
something can occur over the second half.

Kassian vs. Chiasson

Bear in mind Alex Chiasson? He additionally reached new profession highs taking part in largely with McDavid final season, scoring 22 targets and 38 factors. He additionally went chilly round this time final season. He notched 16 targets in his first 30 video games… over a 40-goal tempo. With 4 targets up to now in 2019-20, he’ll be fortunate to achieve 1 / 4 of that quantity, as he performs on a separate line.

Edmonton Oilers ahead Alex Chiasson – (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports activities)

Chiasson stays a hit story for the easy purpose that he parlayed an preliminary skilled tryout settlement with the Oilers right into a two-year deal value $2.15 million per season. Kassian should have a look at Chiasson the identical method and contemplate accepting an extension with an identical framework if he desires to remain.

Circumstances are literally extra alike than Kassian may care to confess. He’s producing at an identical charge (26 factors) taking part in in the identical spot (Chiasson had 22 factors in his first 38 video games final season). They every additionally add a component of dimension and supposed grit to the road in query, complementing the playmaking and scoring means of each McDavid and Draisaitl. Kassian is listed at 6-foot-Three, 211 kilos, whereas Chiasson is 6-foot-Four, 208 kilos. For what it’s value although, Kassian is commonly among the many league leaders in hits.

Furthemore, Kassian and Chiasson are the identical age, every taken within the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Kassian might have extra of a formidable pedigree (13th general), however they’re very a lot producing at across the similar tempo of their careers (zero.36 factors per sport for Chiasson vs. zero.34 for Kassian).

Neither is magically going to show right into a point-per-game participant when typical age curves recommend they need to be exiting their primes about now. The Oilers knew sufficient to not give Chiasson massive cash. They need to know to not overpay Kassian both. Even in case you’re working below the idea Kassian brings some additional physicality to the desk and deserves extra, you may get somebody cheaper by way of free company. Somebody who could be overjoyed to get an opportunity to play with two of the very best gamers within the league.

Kassian vs. Maroon

Contemplate the case of Patrick Maroon, who, himself loved a profession 27-goal season taking part in with McDavid. Maroon signed for simply $1.75 million two summers in the past, when he was only a yr older than Kassian is now, solely to convey a Stanley Cup to his hometown of St. Louis.

Ex-Edmonton Oilers ahead Patrick Maroon – (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With the Blues, Maroon ended up scoring 10 targets and 28 factors as a depth ahead, manufacturing you’ll typically hope you could possibly get out of Kassian in an identical function, solely to signal a one-year take care of Tampa Bay this previous summer season for simply $900,000. That’s admittedly a little bit of an underpay, however generally you’re taking a reduce to make the most of a very good state of affairs, like what Kassian is having fun with now, for a shot at a Stanley Cup. That’s the dream.

If
Kassian desires to remain, he’ll notice the Oilers are in a precarious cap
place. Granted, quite a lot of gamers are coming off the books, however they’ll nonetheless
have early $33 million dedicated to 4 gamers (McDavid, Draisaitl, Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal). That’s over 40% of the present $81.5 million
ceiling. So, the remaining 19 gamers? They need to common roughly $2.5
million in wage (or much less to provide Oilers administration a cushion).

Kassian vs. Nurse

That’s admittedly beneath the league common, however about what you’ll anticipate for a group as top-heavy because the Oilers. The 2020 free-agency interval presents an opportunity to start out remedying the state of affairs, with so many contracts coming due. Chief amongst them isn’t Kassian’s, however these of restricted free-agent-defensemen Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. With regard to the previous, as Jim Parsons argues, defensemen like Nurse don’t actually develop on timber.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse – (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The identical can’t essentially be stated of forwards like Kassian. Sure, he’s confirmed to be a very good match and the commerce for goalie Ben Scrivens that introduced him right here has confirmed to be an unadulterated success. What the Oilers can’t lose sight of is that they nonetheless have a scarcity of fine wingers.

After Kassian and Neal, who has predictably slowed down and solely has three factors in his final 10 video games, the highest-scoring winger the Oilers have is Chiasson. He ranks No. 9. It’s nice how, after the Oilers have had a defenseman downside for the longest time, three fall in between, however, (nonetheless) with out a bona-fide No. 1 rearguard, it hasn’t been fastened. And, if it hasn’t been fastened, that simply means the dearth of wingers is a good larger subject. So, pursuing the likes of Taylor Corridor or Mikael Granlund ought to be a precedence after Nurse.

Clearly
discarding a man who’s confirmed able to contributing like Kassian could be a
mistake. Nevertheless, it’s a good larger one for everybody to imagine he’s
irreplaceable or that, after bouncing round between 4 totally different groups for a
decade within the NHL, Kassian is abruptly one thing he’s clearly not. What Kassian
is, is an effective complement, nothing extra. Like sugar, a commodity in its personal
proper. It’s a nice-to-have, however solely moderately.

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