Edmonton Oilers deal Zack Kassian to Arizona on draft night, create vital cap space

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Tough Oilers winger Zack Kassian has been traded to the Arizona Coyotes.

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In order to clear the $3.2m/year in cap space, the Oilers and Coyotes swap 1st Round 2022 picks. Edmonton ships away #29 for #32. Kassian has 2 years to go on his deal. So, it’s $6.4m in cap space over two seasons. With #32, the Oilers subsequently selected Spruce Grove product Reid Schaefer. Read my Cult of Hockey colleague Bruce McCurdy’s post on that here.

But the check at the end of this dinner date was longer and pricier than that, in order to move Kassian.

The Oilers also shipped their future 3rd Round pick in 2024, and future 2nd Round pick in 2025. Key to that, though: No 2023 picks head out the door. So, while Ken Holland feels away yet more future draft Oilers picks, he does still retain some valuable deadline capital for next Spring.

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The fact of the matter is, while the cost to move the Kassian contract is on the steep side…clearing up cap space in order to keep the Oilers in the Stanley Cup chase in 2022-23 is vital. The looming holes are simply too big to fill without the cap help. Now, including the Oscar Klefbom LTIR number, the Oilers are probably sitting at $14.4m for Holland to work with. Edmonton also did not retain any salary in this deal.

Zack Kassian was 6-13-19 in 58 regular season games for Edmonton in 2021-22, along with 63 penalty minutes. He was 2-2-4 in 16 2022 Stanley Cup playoff games. In 7 regular seasons in Edmonton, Kassian was 53-80-133 with 556 PIM in 412 GP.

A fair question to ask now, given Zack Kassian’s departure and the unknown future of pending UFA Evander Kane: Will the Oilers have the requisite grit remaining on their forward ranks? Time will tell on that front.

Follow me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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