Oilers News & Rumors: Kassian, Khaira, McDavid, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is a lot of buzz surrounding the Oilers, especially after Saturday’s game versus the Calgary Flames. Zack Kassian is in hot water with the NHL Player Safety Committee while Ken Holland looks at ways to improve the roster. There are names connected to the Oilers, both possibly coming in and leaving the organization and one NHL reporter asks if Connor McDavid has another level?

Kassian to Face Hearing and Possible Suspension

After Saturday’s loss, all fans and media seemed to want to talk about was the alteractions between Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk laid in three sizable hits on Kassian during the game and the third one cause Kassian to lose his cool and go after an unwilling dance partner. Kassian received a 10-minute misconduct, the Oilers were down a man for four minutes and wound up losing the game.

Zack Kassian
Edmonton Oilers’ Zack Kassian celebrates a goal with the bench. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

To make matters worse, Kassian is going to have a phone hearing and face a suspension from the NHL Player Safety Committee and could face up to five games suspended.

It would be hard to imagine he’ll get five games but one or two is definitely possible. Fortunately, the committee doesn’t look at who the next opponents will be for the team with the player being suspended. The last thing anyone wants is for Kassian to be sitting out the next game against the Flames on January 29, 2020.

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Oilers Looking at Possible Trade Options?

There are a few trade rumors circulating in respect to the Oilers. We earlier reported that Ken Holland was looking at ways to improve the roster without mortgaging the future. A few names have popped up in discussions.

In an earlier rumors rundown report, we covered the idea that there might be discussions happening between the Detroit Red Wings and Oilers over Andreas Athansiou. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal was the first the potential deal when he tweeted, “You can bet Holland is eyeing Athanasiou in Det too. Loves his speed. His hands don’t quite match his top 5 wheels but he’s restricted free-agent, and Wings’ Steve Yzerman didn’t draft him.”

Edmonton Oilers Jujhar Khaira Minnesota Wild Nick Seeler
Edmonton Oilers left wing Jujhar Khaira and Minnesota Wild defenseman Nick Seeler battle for the puck (Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports)

Bob Stauffer also mentioned a couple of names on his radio show Oilers Now. The first was when he answered a question regarding a possible trade that would see Jesse Puljujarvi moved for Josh Anderson of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stauffer said the Oilers might have interest in Anderson but the ask would be much higher, possibly Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or a first-round pick and one of Evan Bouchard or Philip Broberg. Both of those would be laughable asks if you’re Holland.

Stauffer also mentioned the idea that Edmonton might look to move Jujhar Khaira who was a healthy scratch against the Flames on Saturday. Matheson tweeted, “If you’re Jujhar Khaira being scratched in a big-boy game against Calgary at the Saddledome should be lightbulb-over-your-head moment. His leash with coaching staff getting shorter.” Stauffer believes the Oilers would rather get a quick forward who plays in the bottom six tomorrow versus putting Khaira in and having him do nothing or wrose, placing him on the waiver wire, when the Oilers believe he’d get claimed.

Stauffer tweeted after the Oilers loss on Saturday, “Oilers could have used the Jujhar Khaira from two seasons ago. EDM needs Khaira to ratchet up the intensity when he gets back in.” He especially needs to assert himself if Kassian misses any significant time.

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McDavid Figuring Out His Speeds?

Most fans watch Connor McDavid and marvel at the speed in which he attacks opponents. On Saturday, the Oilers captain scored another beautiful breakaway goal that showcased his blazing speed. This comes just days after McDavid made defensemen Morgan Reilly look foolish with a crossover play that fans are still talking about.

Ron Hainsey; Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid and Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman were chatting on the 31 Thoughts podcast and Marek asked an interesting question. Is McDavid finally figuring out his speed control in the NHL?

Suggesting that it can take a player a few years to adjust to NHL game speed, McDavid always knew he could burst past players. Now, it seems he can adjust his speeds, throw guys off by going slower or faster and when they try to respond, change things on a dime and leave the opposition in the dust.

That’s kind of what happened with the Reilly goal and Marek notes it’s what McDavid used to do every night in Eerie before he entered the NHL. In short, what fans are seeing from McDavid is possibly just the tip of the iceberg as he figures out new ways to get around defensemen who are already second-guessing themselves.

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