The Edmonton Oilers were victims of another disappointing result in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after they suffered a first round exit at the hands of a much deeper Winnipeg Jets team and as you would expect in a scenario like this the big question surrounding the team is simply what comes next?
The Oilers have arguably the best player in the league on their roster in the form of captain Connor McDavid but in spite of that they have been unable to build a winning team around him, much to the chagrin of both fans and pundits of the National Hockey League. You can hardly blame Oilers general manager Ken Holland who inherited a very tough salary cap situation, one made worse by the flattening of the salary cap thanks to the ongoing pandemic, but it sounds like Holland may be looking at ways to move out some salary come this summer.
One player that could be on his way out sooner rather than later is veteran enforcer Zack Kassian, a player that was recently mentioned by Oilers insider Bob Stauffer as a trade candidate in the offseason. Interestingly enough Stauffer also went on to mention the names of two organizations that he believes would have interest in the gritty forward, with those teams being the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers.
"Zack Kassian, there will be teams interested in him," said Stauffer as per the Calgary Herald. "I could see Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers, but in fairness to Zack, I didn’t mind what we saw of Zack in the third and fourth game of the series."
Although fans may be loath to see a gritty forward like Kassian go to another team, Holland will have to find ways to shed salary if he wants to get players like Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Ethan Bear and Darnell Nurse signed to new deals and trading Kassian, who has 3 more seasons remaining on his contract at an average annual value of $3.2 million could be a way to do just that.
In 27 games for the Oilers this season Kassian recorded 2 goals and 3 assists for a total of 5 points and finished with a plus minus rating of -4 on the season. No word however on what kind of return the Oilers would be seeking in such a deal.
Photo Credit: Chris Brown/CSM/Zuma