Hockey Correspondent and Occasional Shakespeare Character, White Cover Magazine
This just in: Zack Kassian is everything the Vancouver Canucks wanted him to be, and he’s only getting better.
After just three games, Big Zack is suddenly the most popular Canuck in the same city he was once judged, discounted, and disrespected. When the Canucks shipped Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres last year — the almost-unheard of case of a No. 1 team trading a potential Calder Trophy finalist — Vancouver received Kassian in return. He didn’t score much. He didn’t really hit much. In fact, he looked every bit the 21-year-old he was.
But, this is 2013. Kassian had a whole fall to spend and score with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Through three games with Vancouver, he has two goals — both coming on the top line with the Sedin Twins — and one thrilling shootout winner against Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames.
The Canucks are going after a Stanley Cup for what seems like the 16th straight season. (Don’t worry, it’s only been four.) Kassian has become their most exciting, most popular player. And, in Vancouver, that means only one thing:
Should they trade him?
The Evolution of Zack Kassian
OHL – Windsor Spitfires
Kassian spent his junior career on a Memorial Cup winning Windsor squad (2010), where he was also teamed with 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall and former Team Canada captain Ryan Ellis.
He also becomes famous for knocking out Matt Kennedy of the Barrie Colts with the kind of hit you normally only see from Mankind or Cactus Jack in a cage match.
World Junior Hockey Championship, 2011
Kassian played inspired hockey for Team Canada and was a huge part of the Canucks’ semi-final thrashing of Team USA in the 2011 WJHC, but he was also a part of the team that blew a 3-0 lead to Russia in the Gold Medal final.
Oh yeah, he also got in trouble for another big hit.
Although, he did star in an unreal Nike Training commercial, too… so, we’re even.
There’s not much to say here. He was a wrecking ball, but a barely used one. Wrecking balls should really be used often.
Vancouver Canucks, 2012
Kassian comes to the Canucks via the trade deadline and the Prima Donna status of Cody Hodgson. He started off well, but lost ice time down the stretch and barely saw the rink in the Canucks’ first round loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
He also got chirped pretty nicely by Chicago’s Duncan Keith.
AHL – Chicago Wolves
Kassian spends the fall with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He breaks out, although he’s benched for a game or two by coach Scott Arniel — along with fellow prospect Jordan Schroeder.
Vancouver Canucks, 2013
A power forward — and a future trading tool — is born.