‘He’s got to show us, and if he doesn’t, that’ll be it’


The Vancouver Canucks gave up on him.

The Montreal Canadiens did, too.

If the Edmonton Oilers ever give up on Zack Kassian, his NHL career will most likely be over.

“He’s got a few obstacles to overcome,” Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli conceded today after acquiring the 24-year-old winger in a trade with Montreal.

“He’s got to show us, and if he doesn’t, that’ll be it. He’s had issues, but he should be highly motivated.”

Of course, that’s what the Habs were thinking less than a year ago when they got Kassian from Vancouver.

“There’s a reason why players are available, but I’ve talked to the young man and we’ve done our homework,” GM Marc Bergevin said at the time. “We believe that he has potential.”

A few months later, Kassian was involved in a car accident and ended up in the second stage of the NHL’s substance-abuse program.

“I’m a firm believer in character and that’s a lack of character and judgment on his part,” Bergevin said of the early-morning accident. “I don’t know how many wake-up calls you get.”

As it turns out, when you’re big, have decent hands and can skate, you get a few.

Not that the Oilers are taking a huge gamble here. All it’s cost them so far is a goalie that had no future with the organization (Ben Scrivens) and an AHL roster spot in Bakersfield, where Kassian will start trying to salvage his career, before it’s too late.