Over the week end Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman dropped a very interesting bit of information when he revealed that his sources had informed Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian was on the trading block. More specifically the Oilers had reportedly granted Kassian permission to seek a trade, something that indicated to me that the Oilers were perhaps very willing to part ways with the veteran forward.
On Monday morning TSN NHL insider Bob McKenzie did a radio hit on TSN's 1260 radio in Edmonton and he was asked about the report from Friedman regarding Kassian's availability. McKenzie appeared to confirm Friedman's report while hinting at the fact that he believes this situation was motivated by complaints, or perhaps even a demand, from Kassian himself.
“Anytime if you’re healthy scratched or whatever, if you’re a player like Zack Kassian who has been around the block in the National Hockey League you just want to play, and if you’re not going to get played here then you obviously express your dissatisfaction, I would assume,” began McKenzie as per Nichols on Hockey. “And if you’re told ‘Well, you can find somewhere else to go,’ go do it.
“So I would assume that’s the basic premise of the situation with Kassian. I’m sure he wants to stay in Edmonton, would love to stay in Edmonton, and if he scores goals like he did last night and he’s in the lineup, then that’s a good start.
Although Kassian may want to stay in Edmonton it seems like there may be more than just love for the city fueling his motivations. This is a very important year for Kassian in terms of his long-term financial success in the NHL and McKenzie believes playing time will be the key component of whether or not the two sides can both remain happy.
“But otherwise, obviously at that age and in a contract year for him, he wants to play,” added the NHL's top insider.
Although Kassian does bring some intangibles to the table, like his physical play, his lack of production this season as well as his cap hit of $1.95 million and the fact that he can be difficult to deal with will likely make a trade a difficult endeavor.