Oct 23, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT
Zack Kassian will be linked to Cody Hodgson for quite some time after the two players were swapped at the trade deadline. It was a controversial deal that didn’t sit well with some Canucks fans — especially after Vancouver was bounced out of the playoffs in five games — but if Kassian continues to make strides, he might make the fans forget about Hodgson.
With the NHL lockout still dragging on, Kassian has started the 2012-13 campaign with the AHL Chicago Wolves after an intense summer training program.
“We actually brought him back to Vancouver to train with the (Sedin) twins for a week,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said in a Vancouver Sun report. “We put him in Portland at the Nike high performance center for 10 days, we put him in Winnipeg to train with (skills coach) Glenn Carnegie at his facility for three weeks and he was great every step of the way. He worked really hard and is getting results because of it.”
You don’t have to dig deep to see those results. In two games against the Abbotsford Heat, he had two goals and two fights. Overall he’s had four points and 16 penalty minutes in five contests.
“You can see that the pace of his play is much higher,” said Gillis. “He has lost a little bit of weight, but not that much. But he’s much stronger. Lorne (assistant GM Lorne Henning) thinks he’s a stride ahead of where he was and I think he might be a little bit more actually. When he takes off now with the puck he is pulling away from people.”
Kassian feels quicker too and he’s more confident. It helps that AHL Chicago is giving him an opportunity to play in a lot of different situations and get big minutes. That’s something he didn’t get with the Sabres or Canucks in his rookie season.
Kassian is still just 21 years old and so far it looks like he’s taken a significant step towards becoming the power forward the Canucks are looking for. He should rejoin Vancouver as soon as the lockout ends.
- Video: Two quick third-period goals propel Flyers over rival Penguins 10
- Video: Pittsburgh pays tribute to Ottawa tragedy with O Canada rendition 4
- Video: McKenzie talks latest from Ottawa shootings, Voynov investigation 0
- WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh vs. Philly on Rivalry Night 3
- Wild, Coyle agree on five-year contract extension 14
- The Flyers ‘have Mason’s back’ 9
- Postponed: NHL to reschedule Sens-Leafs in wake of Ottawa shootings 34
- NHL monitoring situation in Ottawa 23
- Lawyer: ‘Mr. Voynov never hit the woman’ 33
- NHL on NBCSN: Hungry Flyers set sights on rival Penguins 30
- Source: Lucic fined $5k for gesture vs. Habs (Confirmed) (121)
- Updated: Kings’ Voynov arrested for domestic assault, suspended indefinitely (78)
- Video: Bruins’ Lucic gestures to Habs fans after late penalty (59)
- Babcock: ‘Price definitely initiates contact’ in disallowed Datsyuk goal (57)
- ‘It’s stupid': Tempers flare after Kesler’s late charge on Granlund (54)