The Edmonton Oilers have locked up a key forward, signing Zack Kassian to a three-year deal worth a total of $5.85MM. Paying him $1.95MM per season, the deal buys out two of Kassian’s unrestricted free agent years, but gives him some stability as he continues to get his career back on track. He will be a UFA in the summer of 2020.
Kassian, 26, has had a long difficult road through the professional ranks since being selected 13th-overall in 2009. Stung by inconsistency and addiction—Kassian has been open about his battle with alcohol following a stint in the NHL’s substance abuse facility—the big winger finally found a home in Edmonton this year, scoring 24 points and generally being an impossible pest on the ice. His play (and facial hair) drew rave reviews in the playoffs, even if it did result in only three goals.
With the Oilers focused on re-signing Leon Draisaitl and extending Connor McDavid for the next eight years, getting Kassian under contract for such a reasonable price will help fill in the bottom six with a known commodity. If he can repeat or even improve on his scoring numbers from last season, he’ll be one of the better depth scoring options in the league relative to his contract. The fact that Edmonton took a chance on him and helped him get his life back on track likely played a part in keeping him there, and he’ll now try to take the next step and help the team get back into the playoffs.
Bob McKenzie of TSN broke the signing and provided details on the financials of the deal.