Zack Kassian (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Off-ice troubles landed Zack Kassian in the NHL and NHLPA’s substance abuse program early last season, but he successfully got his season on track with the Edmonton Oilers and has landed himself a one-year deal for 2016-17.
Zack Kassian will have a lot to prove in 2016-17, and he’ll get the chance to do so with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers announced Thursday that Kassian, 25, has signed a one-year, $1.5-million deal that will keep him in Edmonton next season.
Over his career, Kassian has twice been a 10-plus goal scorer and he was nearly a 30-point player during the 2013-14 campaign while with the Vancouver Canucks. At 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, Kassian has the frame to be a stellar bottom-six power forward if he can get his game on track. He looked like he was starting to find his legs late last season, and that's a good thing considering how the past season began for Kassian.
Kassian’s career was nearly derailed last October when his off-ice troubles saw him involved in an early morning car crash only days before the regular season was slated to begin. And if he can find his groove with Edmonton, there’s a chance he’s one of the feel-good stories of the upcoming campaign.
Kassian, 25, suffered a broken foot and broken nose when a truck that he was a passenger in crashed into a tree in Montreal. The accident involving Kassian, who had been acquired earlier in the off-season by the Canadiens, left Montreal GM Marc Bergevin incredulous. When discussing Kassian, Bergevin said he didn’t “know how many wake-up calls (someone) can get.” Shortly thereafter, Kassian was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, placed into the league and Players Association’s joint substance abuse program and was subsequently waived by the Canadiens.
After missing 32 games, Kassian was reinstated by the NHL and immediately demoted to the AHL’s St. John’s Canadiens, but he didn’t play a single game for the Canadiens’ affiliate. In need of goaltending help, Montreal swapped Kassian to the Oilers for netminder Ben Scrivens, and Kassian would spend four games with the Bakersfield Condors before getting brought up to Edmonton.
Kassian played 36 games with the Oilers to end the 2015-16 campaign, scoring three goals and eight points while averaging fourth-line minutes. He was a constant in Edmonton’s lineup, though, and the new deal assures he’ll be back again this upcoming season.
With Kassian locked up, the Oilers still have a lot of wiggle room under the salary cap and more additions could be coming. Per CapFriendly, Edmonton still has more than $12 million to work with this off-season.