27-Year-Old Right Wing – Edmonton Oilers
Zack Kassian Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $5.85 million extension with the Oilers in June of 2017.
Kassian finished the 2017-18 season with 19 points in 74 games.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Kassian is a bruiser with pedigree as a 2009 first-round pick, but despite signs of promise, he's yet to translate that talent into many points at the NHL level. He also missed time last year due to leg and finger injuries, before a March back injury ended his season after just 16 points in 42 games. The Canadiens picked him up from Vancouver over the offseason, and he'll have an instant opportunity to compete with the likes of Devante Smith-Pelly and prospect Sven Andrighetto for a spot as their second-line right wing. It's questionable whether Kassian has the two-way skill set to stick in such a featured role, but there's a place on this team for his grit and sniping ability regardless.
Kassian hit his stride in 2013-2014, establishing career-highs with 14 goals and 29 points. Though he struggled at times earlier in the year, he did finish the season hot, tallying 10 points (three goals) in his final 10 games. His 15.4 shooting percentage was quite impressive, and his 124 PIM made him even more appealing to fantasy owners. Kassian has slowly been improving every season and could be primed for an even larger breakout in 2014-2015. Kassianís chance to play with the Sedin twins is likely in jeopardy given the Orcasí offseason signing of former 35-goal scorer Radim Vrbata, but a second-line gig is possible. A permanent role in the top-six would do wonders for the 23-year old winger.
The 2012-13 campaign marked Kassianís first chance for a full-time gig at the NHL level. The 2009 first-round pick started off the season on a tear, netting five goals though the first seven games while skating on the top line with the Sedin twins. But his output quickly tapered off and he lost his place on the top line, finishing with just 11 points in 39 games. Despite his season being a disappointment overall, Kassian showed enough flashes to hint that the 22-year-old winger can still live up to his pedigree. Expect some further development here, but it won't come in leaps and bounds. Kassian remains a big (6-3, 214) power forward with top-six upside, but his type of player tends to mature slowly ... like fine wine or single-malt Scotch. He currently projects to start the 2013-14 season on the Canucksí third line.
Kassian was acquired by the Canucks in the Cody Hodgson deal prior to the trade deadline last season. In 44 games split between the Canucks and Sabres, Kassian totaled just 10 points (4 G, 6 A) in his first campaign at the NHL level. Despite his struggles, Vancouver remains high on the 21-year-old wingerís upside. At 6-3, 214 pounds, Kassian has the size to be a physical power forward in the top-six, but he needs to refine his skills to cement himself in such a profilic spot. The Canucks figure to allow Kassian to work through his growing pains, but most of his ice time this season figures to be honing his skills on the third or fourth line.
A lot of hype surrounds Kassian because Sabre fans are starving for a top-line forward with a physical presence. Still, Kassian is very raw and not quite ready for primetime. The Sabres rarely, if ever, bring a player up who hasn't spent at least a full season in the AHL, and Kassian is no different. It will be interesting to monitor how he does, and how he behaves during his first full season as a professional in Rochester through 2011-12.
Kassian will look to put the past behind him and fully focus on hockey in 2010-11 after some on and off the ice issues last season. He is one of the most promising prospects in the Sabre organization. A big season offensively in the OHL in 2010-11 will catapult him into "next big thing" status within the organization.
Kassian is a big power forward who will offer a lot of versatility to a skill team like Buffalo in the future. At 6-3 and over 200 pounds, Kassian is not afraid to use his size to grind out opponents and push the puck in the back of the net. While he has a big physical presence, Kassian could use a couple more years before he breaks into the NHL to work on his skating ability and speed.