McKenzie on trade questions about Kassian, Puljujarvi

Zack Kassian and Jesse Puljujarvi have not performed as well as the Edmonton Oilers would like to date, and each player has been included in trade-related speculation.

The former was mentioned on Hockey Night in Canada’s Saturday Headlines last weekend, while the latter is a young talent a lot of teams would surely love to try to get at a discount and has been thrown into fan and media-driven conjecture.

Bob McKenzie had a Thursday afternoon radio hit on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, and was asked if there was anything to trade-related notions about either player.

“Kassian wasn’t playing there for awhile,” noted McKenzie. “So his agent simply contacted the Oilers and said, ‘What gives here. I can find teams that would like to have this guy in the lineup if you don’t want to play him here.’ But make no mistake, Zack Kassian’s first preference is to remain an Edmonton Oiler. He wants to be in the lineup and play. And if that’s the case, then nothing needs to be done. He didn’t demand a trade, he didn’t even ask for one.

“But the Oilers did say, ‘Well, if you find anybody who is interested in him, tell them to give us a call.’ And if they get the right offer, I suppose they could trade him. But I think all things considered, they’d be happy to have him in their lineup if he’s playing as well as he can play.”

Kassian is in the second season of a three-year, $5.85 million contract carrying a $1.95 million cap hit, and does not have any trade protection written into that pact.

“As for Puljujarvi, general manager Peter Chiarelli does not want to trade this player,” continued McKenzie. “He was the fourth overall selection in the draft a couple of years ago, and yet he’s missed four straight games. Now, he is going to be back in the lineup tonight, taking the place of Kailer Yamamoto.

“This is a big game for him because he needs to show that, ‘Hey, they sat me down for four straight games. Here’s my response to that.’ He needs to play well and give Todd McLellan a reason to keep him in the lineup. If he doesn’t play well, well then he could go back to being a healthy scratch, which doesn’t serve anybody’s purpose because he’s such a young player. He could also be sent down to the American Hockey League.

“So I think a lot is on the line in the short term for Puljujarvi here, but the Oilers as an organization aren’t in the mode yet where they’re talking about making a move for him because they want to try and see if they can get him playing like they think he can.”

Puljujarvi is in the final season of his entry-level contract.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly