It seems almost a certainty now that the Edmonton Oilers and veteran forward Zack Kassian are headed down a path that will see the two parties joined at the hip for the foreseeable future, but there are still many questions regarding whether or not this is the right move from the organization.
The Oilers enforcer is currently having the best season of his career in the National Hockey League and, with him set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, you just know that his performance this time around is going to cost the Oilers some significant money. Kassian currently sits at 13 goals and 15 assists for a combined 28 points on the season, and all of those numbers will likely transform into career highs before it is all said and done. Kassian set a career high for goals last season when he recorded 15 over 79 games, but with his 13 goals through just 44 games will almost assuredly eclipse that total. His previous career high for assists is at 17, also over a 79 game stretch, but again with 15 on the season already that number is likely to increase significantly. Last but not least Kassian is just 1 point away from matching his career high for points in a season, and with so many games left to play it would take a catastrophe to stop him from breaking that personal best.
All this to say that the number Kassian is likely to receive from the Oilers in their contract negotiations will likely represent a significant raise from his current salary, but will it be too much? Well according to one Oilers insider we may already have a pretty good idea of what he will be earning on his new deal, and so far the fan reaction to this news appears to be a little mixed. A recent report from Mark Spector of Sportsnet has revealed that Kassian's new deal is expected to come in at an average annual value of somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.25 million to $3.25 million per season. That is a lot of money to pay for a player that is effectively an enforcer, especially when you add the fact that Spector expects this contract to be relatively long term, a four year deal.
Kassian has of course benefited tremendously from playing with an elite level player like Connor McDavid, and only time will tell if this deal works out, or if this goes down as another veteran signed to a too rich contract by general manager Ken Holland.