Edmonton Oilers

Zack Kassian’s contract bought out by the Arizona Coyotes

With the NHL offseason officially starting now that the playoffs have concluded, teams are turning immediately to the next season. One such area that is already affecting teams is the first buyout window. Opening after the playoffs conclbde and closing on June 30, teams typically have a two or three week period to tend to their buyouts.

The Arizona Coyotes are among the latest teams to use this opportunity to change their cap structure. Among their buyouts, former Edmonton Oilers Zack Kassian sees his time in the desert come to a close.

Zack Kassian’s contract buyout

The contract that the Coyotes bought out was actually the same one that Kassian signed with the Oilers. On January 29, 2020, Kassian signed a four-year contract with the Oilers valued at a total of $12.8M. It was his third contract signed with the Oilers as he had previously re-signed back in 2016–17 for one year and then 2017–18 for three years.

Over the course of Kassian’s career, the Oilers gave him a sum total of $20.15M. Not bad for someone who was never a major point producer. Kassian’s value was more often found by being a complementary player wherever needed as well as playing the role of the pest.

His last contract was his biggest payday in his career, but unfortunately for the Oilers the contract soured nearly immediately. In the first two seasons of his big contract, Kassian saw a steep decline in his production. Posting just five points in 27 games in 2020–21 followed by 19 points in 58 games in 2021–22, Kassian was far off from his previous totals of 26 and 34 points in the prior two years.

However, he did contribute four points in the Oilers’ playoff run that took them to the Western Conference Final, where he scored two goals and two assists.

By the end of 2021–22, it was clear that Kassian had to be a piece that moved.

Kassian unloaded to Arizona

The Oilers paid a hefty price to the Coyotes to send Kassian to Arizona. On July 7, 2022, the two teams swapped 2022 first-round picks, where the Oilers sent pick #29 to Arizona while receiving pick #32. However, the Oilers also sent a 2024 third- and 2025 second-round pick to Arizona as well.

It was a big price to pay, especially for a contract that was just signed two years ago, but the Oilers had to cut their losses and make do with their circumstances.

Buyout impact on Edmonton

The plus side of the trade was that since Edmonton paid up front in draft picks, they are not on the hook in the salary at all. With no salary retained in the trade, Kassian’s buyout has no impact on Edmonton’s cap. Arizona will see cap hits of $1.67M and $766,667 over the next two years, and that’s it.

Uncertainty for Kassian

Now that he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent, at 32 years old Kassian may not want to call it a career just yet. Since he’s getting paid to not play, he might just share his talents on a team-friendly deal for a team that wants him. Could it be with the Oilers given that they’ve been responsible for his last three signed contracts?

Let us know in the comments if you’d like to see Kassian back with the Oilers on a team-friendly deal!

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