Kassian has run into a little bit of trouble and it looks like the Sabres have backed off (at least for a time) in their pursuit of getting the young man signed.
Based on what we read the incident was a fairly typical bar fight (a bunch of locals getting drunk enough to find the biggest, toughest guy in the bar and that’s probably
Kassian). The Sabres themselves say they’re not going to abandon him.
If the Oilers are serious about rebuilding properly (and I don’t think they have to go scorched earth but they apparently do) then a guy like Kassian is a more attractive trade option that a more established winger like Blake Wheeler (younger, closer to the Gagner-Hall median age cluster, less expensive contract).
Glen Sather was a brilliant manager in several ways, and one of them was in getting a lot of quality from the scrap heap. Craig MacTavish was the ultimate example, but the glory years Oilers had any number of kids who had either stalled as prospects or run afoul of authority.
It is one way for an NHL team to procure more talent than the other 29 teams. Everyone has their draft bullets, everyone scouts colleges and Europe for free agents. Sather became the patron saint of the lost cause and it served him well.
Kassian is certainly no lost cause and from all reports is a quality player and individual. He also happens to be exactly what the Edmonton Oilers need for their cluster of young, undersized skill-forwards.