The Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Zack Kassian along with the 29th overall pick in 2022, a second-round pick in 2024, and a 2025 third-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for the 32nd overall pick in 2022.
For the Coyotes, this move fits exactly into their plans over the last two seasons. As a team with a lot of salary cap available when most teams have none, they have been taking on bad contract after bad contract while being handsomely rewarded to do so. With this deal, they have now stacked up three selections in both the 2024 second and third rounds alone.
As a team that is facing uncertainty off the ice, this is a great way to kickstart their rebuild, which they will be hoping to finish by the time they get their new dream Stadium in Tempe. With so many picks, it’s easy to imagine them being a young, dominant team in three to five years while tearing down the roof in their new stadium.
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Also, in the short term, Kassian can take on starting ice time while the team deals with uncertainty surrounding their current stadium setup with Arizona State University. It might be difficult to attract free agents due to this situation which means they may need these players to help them field a competitive team.
Oilers Clear Cap Space to Make a Big Signing
For the Oilers, this trade seems to point towards one thing. General Manager Ken Holland seems hellbent on re-signing Evander Kane after he meshed incredibly well with his superstar roster. Kane did tie Nathan MacKinnon with 13 goals scored for the most in the 2022 playoffs, after all, and provided that he still had a lot of hockey left to be played in his career.
However, he is going to need a significant raise to be retained, as he was coming off a one-year deal set up by his contract termination by the San Jose Sharks. This was a show-me deal by the Oilers, and he brought it to the ice. If he were to hit free-agency, he will garner a significant extension.
By clearing this cap space, the Oilers may be closing in on this new contract with Kane. It was an expensive trade to make, but if it brings back an important piece to their line-up, it may be worthwhile in the long term.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.