24-Year-Old Right Wing – Vancouver Canucks
Zack Kassian Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Canucks on a two-year, $3.5 million contract in July 2014.
In an appearance on TSN 1040 radio Friday, GM Jim Benning discussed trade rumors involving Kassian. "If something comes up where we think it's a good deal for us or something, then we'll do it if we make the organization better."
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|View Zack Kassian's Full Game Log|
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Zack Kassian: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The 2012-13 campaign marked Kassianís first chance for a full-time gig at the NHL level. The 2009 first-round pick started off the season on a tear, netting five goals though the first seven games while skating on the top line with the Sedin twins. But his output quickly tapered off and he lost his place on the top line, finishing with just 11 points in 39 games. Despite his season being a disappointment overall, Kassian showed enough flashes to hint that the 22-year-old winger can still live up to his pedigree. Expect some further development here, but it won't come in leaps and bounds. Kassian remains a big (6-3, 214) power forward with top-six upside, but his type of player tends to mature slowly ... like fine wine or single-malt Scotch. He currently projects to start the 2013-14 season on the Canucksí third line.
Kassian was acquired by the Canucks in the Cody Hodgson deal prior to the trade deadline last season. In 44 games split between the Canucks and Sabres, Kassian totaled just 10 points (4 G, 6 A) in his first campaign at the NHL level. Despite his struggles, Vancouver remains high on the 21-year-old wingerís upside. At 6-3, 214 pounds, Kassian has the size to be a physical power forward in the top-six, but he needs to refine his skills to cement himself in such a profilic spot. The Canucks figure to allow Kassian to work through his growing pains, but most of his ice time this season figures to be honing his skills on the third or fourth line.
A lot of hype surrounds Kassian because Sabre fans are starving for a top-line forward with a physical presence. Still, Kassian is very raw and not quite ready for primetime. The Sabres rarely, if ever, bring a player up who hasn't spent at least a full season in the AHL, and Kassian is no different. It will be interesting to monitor how he does, and how he behaves during his first full season as a professional in Rochester through 2011-12.
Kassian will look to put the past behind him and fully focus on hockey in 2010-11 after some on and off the ice issues last season. He is one of the most promising prospects in the Sabre organization. A big season offensively in the OHL in 2010-11 will catapult him into "next big thing" status within the organization.
Kassian is a big power forward who will offer a lot of versatility to a skill team like Buffalo in the future. At 6-3 and over 200 pounds, Kassian is not afraid to use his size to grind out opponents and push the puck in the back of the net. While he has a big physical presence, Kassian could use a couple more years before he breaks into the NHL to work on his skating ability and speed.