CI3cEnzWcAQPJPoHey, it’s the middle of summer so that means it’s totally the right time for my occasional foray into talking about hockey right?

Much to Walter and Sarah’s chagrin, July 1st usually has me obsessively checking my phone to follow the world of NHL hockey as it enters the first day of free agency. It’s like this nice little treat that they have for hockey fans in the middle of summer. Thanks NHL! Anyways, this year it was slightly less obstructive since I have an Android smart watch now, so each trade and signing just popped a little alert up on my watch. We live in the future you guys.

Much like Brandon Prust himself I saw that the Habs had traded for Zack Kassian and didn’t immediately know who we had traded for him. I was initially pretty pumped and Kassian himself pumped me up even more by sharing the hilarious picture you see on your right. Then I saw the details and was a little sad. Then I saw that the Habs were saving on cap and getting a younger/similar player in the mix and I convinced myself it was the right call. Prust is all heart and that’s definitely what the Canucks need so maybe this trade is a win/win for both teams.

Then, the more I read about the guy the more I became convinced that maybe, just maybe the Habs didn’t just make a good trade, they might have made a great trade. Kassian was drafted 13th overall in the 2009 entry draft. That’s a pretty high pick. All sorts of people lauded him as the second coming of a Milan Lucic type player who could move the puck, score goals and knock another man’s teeth out if push came to shove. That never really panned out. But maybe, just maybe, there’s still time. He’s only really played one full season. Isn’t it time that the Habs caught a break picking up a prospect that hasn’t really played to potential and ending up catching the diamond in the rough?

Lars Eller and Benoit Pouliot immediately spring to mind as first rounders the Habs picked up from trades who never really panned out with the Canadiens. Even more concerning are the first round picks the Habs have made themselves that just didn’t work out. Who can forget Andrei Kostitsyn? Or more recently Louis Leblanc? I don’t even want to think about the fact that as we speak Alex Galchenyuk doesn’t have an agent (because he fired him) and wants to play Center while the GM thinks he might only ever be a winger.

Imagine if Kassian found the talent that had him going earlier in the draft than guys like… you know… that guy… from 2009 draft. Wow. The 2009 draft really wasn’t the great. I really should have looked that up before getting 500 words into this thing. Anyways, ignore that. Imagine that Montreal picked up the guy who had 77 points in 56 games with the Windsor Spitfires in the oHL and who suddenly finds his NHL stride just in time for October? I can dream can’t I?

Day dreaming aside though, let’s look at the guy we really got:

Power Play
2014-15 23 NHL VAN 42 10 6 16 -5 81 55 18.2 3 0 12:37 1 0 1 0:39 88 2
2013-14 22 NHL VAN 73 14 15 29 -4 124 91 15.4 2 0 12:56 1 0 1 0:42 91 6
2012-13 21 NHL VAN 39 7 4 11 -7 51 49 14.3 1 0 13:29 2 1 3 1:28 70 4
2011-12 20 NHL VAN 17 1 2 3 -1 31 18 5.6 0 0 10:17 0 0 0 0:01 40 1
2011-12 20 NHL BUF 27 3 4 7 -1 20 36 8.3 0 0 11:56 0 1 1 0:52 39 1

So basically, from a points perspective, Michel Therrien can expect around 20-30 points a season from Mr. Kassian. Other than his second season with Rangers, Brandon Prust has never had more than 18 points in a season. So offensively, Kassian is already a bit of an upgrade. Add to that the fact that Kassian actually finishes the play and scores goals a lot more than Prust and I like it even more. For the direct comparison, it has taken Prust 451 NHL games to amass his 39 goals. Kassian has 35 goals 198 games. He’s nearly matched the lovable Prust in scoring in less than half the number of games played. He also seemingly has some usefulness on the powerplay, something you could not say about Prust at all.


Then, there’s the important stats for playing against teams that are named after baby bears and teams that wear orange. Zack Kassion hits people. A lot. Now, he and Prust actually have similar hit totals, but here’s the thing; would you rather get hit by a guy who’s 30 years old, 6 foot and 195 lbs OR a guy who’s 24, 6’3 and 214 lbs? Here’s a hint: The older guy plays for the Canucks now and if you don’t think 20 extra pounds and three inches doesn’t make a difference I’ll just toss a twenty pound weight your way when you’re not looking.

Both Prust and Kassian seem to have a penchant for taking a lot of penalties and that can either be a good or a bad thing, depending on the who you ask and the timing of the penalty.

Is Kassian even going to get time on the top two lines here in Montreal? Probably not (although, the lack of talent on the Right Wing indicates that he just might). Is he potentially an upgrade to Prust who is 6 years younger and a little more offensive? Yeah, why not. Could he somehow tap into whatever the amateur scouts saw in him to be drafted 13th overall? One can only hope.

Worst case, we will be able to add a few more gifs (in a much better jersey) to /r/kassiangifs

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

Stats from RotoWire.