At 22 years old, Zack Kassian is still incredibly raw. The big-bodied power forward has all kinds of skill, but has had issues with consistency in his young career. This season, he has just 5 points in 15 games, while struggling to earn the trust of his new coach and thereby earning more ice time.
There are some positive signs, of course: 4 of his points are goals, putting him on pace for about 20 goals this season, which would be a solid step in the right direction. He’ll need more shots to do so, however, as he’s averaging just over 1 per game, and he’ll likely need an opportunity in the top-six in order to get those shots. On the other hand, he’s formed a valuable partnership with Brad Richardson on the third line that has been able to perform admirably with some lesser linemates like Darren Archibald and Tom Sestito.
One area that he definitely needs to work at, however, is at his own blueline, where he has a tendency to get complicated where he needs to be simple. Kassian clearly has the capability to make unexpected and creative passes. Some of the passes he has made even just this season are simply sublime — little 2-3 foot hook passes around an opponent’s stick to spring a teammate in the neutral zone — and we flipped our lids at his incredible lob pass to Darren Haydar with the Chicago Wolves back in January.
The problem is that Kassian tries to use that same creativity in the defensive zone, frequently and infuriatingly just inside his own blue line, which has led to some needless turnovers.Continue Reading —›
It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at email@example.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)Continue Reading —›