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[Article] (Poll Added) Early returns on the maturation, transformation of Kassian with Wolves encouraging


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Poll: Would you do the Hodgson Kassian trade again? (84 member(s) have cast votes)

Would you do the Hodgson Kassian trade again?

  1. Yes, Kassian's ceiling is higher than Hodgson's (11 votes [13.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.10%

  2. Yes, Kassian is a better fit for our team in the future (33 votes [39.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.29%

  3. No, Hodgson is better for the Canucks than Kassian (11 votes [13.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.10%

  4. I don't know. Only time will tell. (29 votes [34.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 34.52%

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#1 StevenStamkos

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:49 PM

VANCOUVER — If it was an encouraging assessment following what would have been the NHL regular-season opener for the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday in Calgary, it may have carried more clout.

However, even at the AHL level, any positive developments regarding the ongoing maturation and transformation of Zack Kassian from fourth-line plugger to productive power forward are welcome. As the Chicago Wolves prepare to open their AHL regular season Saturday, the Canucks have not only stocked their affiliate’s roster in lieu of the lockout that has no end in sight, they have provided a platform for Kassian, Jordan Schroeder and Chris Tanev to log major minutes and build their levels of confidence to contribute at the next level.

And if the good early returns on Kassian continue, then the constant comparisons to Cody Hodgson in the trade-deadline swap last February will subside. Especially if the slimmer, quicker and more responsive Kassian gives the Canucks reason to believe that there’s a much bigger upside for the 21-year-old right winger who’ll line up with Schroeder and Bill Sweatt in the season opener against the Rockford Ice Hogs. Last season in 30 games with the Rochester Americans, Kassian had 15 goals and 26 AHL points, so the potential is there.

“Zack is moving really well and has been a force playing a power-forward role,” Wolves coach Scott Arniel said Thursday. “The surprise to me is that I’ve really noticed his playmaking ability and that’s something I wasn’t expecting. But getting thrown into the fire in Vancouver, he had a lot of pressure in being traded for a popular player who was playing well for the Canucks. It can be tough on a kid and now it’s kind of a fresh start. He gets to get his feet under him and show the organization what he can do. We’re pleased with what we’ve seen.”

That’s fine. But because Kassian, managed just three points in 17 games while Hodgson had but eight points in 20 games following the trade, the microscope is always going to zoom in on the pair — especially after Hodgson managed 16 goals and 33 points in 63 games before the transaction.

“That stuff doesn’t bother me,” said Kassian, who has two seasons left on is entry-level deal. “If that bothers you, you’re not going to go too far. We’re different players and I wish him all the best. You can’t really listen to what people are saying outside the rink. My goal is to make my teammates and my coaches happy. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes.”

That’s what the Canucks want to hear because the knock on Kassian before he was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres is that he would show up one game and then you’d be hard pressed to find him in the next few. In his first outing with the Canucks, the Windsor, Ont. native was on the fourth line but took first and second-line shifts, finishing with five hits in a dozen minutes. Kassian then moved from the fourth to the second line in the third period just two games later and responded with a goal and an assist and finished with seven hits in a win over Hodgson and the Sabres. However, he also went pointless in four postseason game and his ice time shrunk from six to less than four minutes. And he delivered only five hits.

“We need him to be a power forward and not play just one or two shifts,” added Arniel. “He’s giving himself a good chance to get off to a good start. He’s like most young guys. He’s eager to learn and recognizes the opportunity that’s been put in front of him. Does he want to be a fourth-line right winger, or does he want to play in the top six of the Canucks?

“He has the skill set and size and ability. We’re going to work with him, but he’s got to have that mindset to play up there and it could be rewarding for him. Playing an elite role with a very good Canucks team should be motivation for him. It’s whether he goes out and grabs it.”

bkuzma@theprovince.com
twitter.com/benkuzma

COACH’S CORNER:

Here’s a progress report from Chicago Wolves coach Scott Arniel on two other players high on the Vancouver Canucks radar — centre Jordan Schroeder and defenceman Chris Tanev:

On Schroeder, who had two goals in a 3-1 preseason win over Milwaukee, and his coming off a 21-goal AHL season: “We always knew he had speed, but he scored two beautiful goals and has a great shot. It’s just the maturity around the room and you can really see that he’s grown up and is starting to fill out his body. He’s been strong on face-offs and we’e used him in a penalty killing role and is one of those dynamic players who when he uses his skill set, is hard to play against.”

On Tanev, who will be paired with Kevin Connauton on Saturday: “Some players you watch and some you can see aren’t quite ready yet to play at the NHL level. Tanev is ready to go. He’s polished and smooth and little things that defencemen have to do, he does. He’s got good feet and has good vision and you can tell that he just has that one extra step that other guys here [AHL} don’t have.”

— KUZMA





This is a good article to get people pumped for the AHL regular season. Especially now without an NHL season, people need to follow hockey somehow.

I know I will be following the progress of our prospects intently!

So excited to see how Kassian, Schroeder, and Tanev turn out :towel:

Edit: With the recent discussion of Kassian vs Hodgson, I've added a related poll.

Edited by StevenStamkos, 13 October 2012 - 05:40 PM.

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#2 Red Light Racicot

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:53 PM

Good luck Zack, tear it up out there.
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#3 BananaMash

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:09 PM

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Didn't we lose to the Sabres that night he had all the points? I was at the game, pretty sure we lost.
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#4 TowelPower12

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:10 PM

Didn't we lose to the Sabres that night he had all the points? I was at the game, pretty sure we lost.


yeah he had a goal and an assist, hodgson was held off the board
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#5 BananaMash

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:12 PM

yeah he had a goal and an assist, hodgson was held off the board


Oh I see it was talking directly about Him vs. Hodgson, but not the game itself. It just seemed like it was worded funny.
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#6 hudson bay rules

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:16 PM

he needs big minutes and he wasn't gonna get em with the big club this year
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#7 TowelPower12

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:23 PM

he needs big minutes and he wasn't gonna get em with the big club this year


yeah he wasn't going to develop up here with AV only playing him 5 mins a night
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#8 jatylo

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:22 PM

I'm really happy for him that he is getting the confidence by playing a big role. When he played for Vancouver it was obvious he wasn't ready for the big show (confidence, hockey sense, vision all lacked) and playing on a fourth line with only 5 minutes wasn't going to help at all. I really hope he shows the powerforward that MG see's in him while down there and wish him all the best.
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#9 WeatherWise

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:26 PM

Wolfman Zack is alive!
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#10 canuckfan_sincebirth

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:44 PM

Good read, getting stoked for the ahl season!
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#11 Grapefruits

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:59 PM

yeah he wasn't going to develop up here with AV only playing him 5 mins a night



Even without the strike right now I feel his best place this year is the AHL. A full season down there will do him good. Next year will be his year to make it with the big club
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#12 Green Building

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:09 PM


Good for Zack. Hopefully he can find his place with high confidence, and develop into what he is being groomed to be.

Off topic, I wish AHL streamed games weren't so expensive, I'd love to buy the package but $300... sheesh.
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#13 Spencer Drew

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:26 PM

Great article, really excited to see Zack Kassian prove the haters wrong. I believe he can turn into a top power forward like Milan Lucic. Thanks OP. Now, with there being no NHL season, yet, does anyone know where I can watch the Wolves play online, or are their games even broadcasted online?

Edited by Spencer Drew, 11 October 2012 - 09:28 PM.

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#14 sting

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:41 PM

Great to hear Zach has put in the work this summer to compete at a higher level. This guy is going to be a beast!!

Also some pretty lofty praise from Arniel on Schroeder. I have always felt watching Schroeder that he thinks the game at a higher level than AHL players and will be a better NHLer than minor leaguer.

If Shredder turns out to be as good as or better than Slugson then Gillis will look like a genius when Kassian becomes that PF every team covets.
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#15 *vInTaGe*

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:10 PM

I'm excited!
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#16 Sergei Shirokov

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:43 PM

He seems more like a poor man's Todd Bertuzzi than a Lucic type player.
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#17 playboi19

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:45 PM

Kassian and Mallet the bash bros.
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#18 RunningWild

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:56 PM

I'm pulling for the kid. Glad he'll get time away from the bright lights in Vancouver and time to know the younger guys in the system. I don't think he'll ever be Lucic, not even close. That type of anger is often tied to your upbringing, I don't get that vibe from Kassian. He'd also have to be in a system that condones or fosters that 'type' of personality/behavior. The Canucks aren't that org. But I think he'll be a great hockey player one day, he just needs time.
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#19 The Kassassin Train

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:25 PM

Choo Chooooooo That's all I hear when I will be seeing Kassian destroying guys in the AHL this year and finishing plays and giving space to Schroeder.
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The key difference is that Sopel can fill in for Seabrook and Campbell just fine. Bieksa, he is garbage so in that sense he is like the worst defenseman in the league.


When Cody (Hodgson) gets older, he might be better than Datsyuk.


Let's not push this guy (Kassian). He's still immature, and if he fails on the 2nd line it's because he isn't ready. Some guys really need years to develop, it's how well and how fast players adapt to the game. In my opinion, I'd rather have Horvat getting 2nd line minutes. He will start off on the 3rd line next season but I see him making the transition, being a great compliment to whoever plays his wings.

At this point, I don't see Kassian fitting in to any role other than a 3rd. If players like Kassian start getting 2nd line minutes then we just stay inconsistent as a team.


The idiocy on CDC....

#20 Derp...

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:31 PM

Ready for the young guns to show their guns. I think Kassian will be a great pair with sweat and schred.The speedy line I was hoping for. I expect him to be a play maker (as the article noted) this year, lots of assists and goals in the dirty areas. He will play well with Kesler and his experience as he can give kes good opportunities to shoot the puck by drawing D with speed and then clean up on rebounds with his effort. If he gets his stick eye good for tip-in's he'll be a beast on PP too. Screens, tip-in's, drawing defenders out of there zones... Ideal role for him with the skill set we have. Stoked :)
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#21 Masamune

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 01:45 AM

I hope Kassian's numbers emphasize his playmaking. Even last season his ability to take the puck into the offensive zone and do something useful with it was very apparent. I think some people are drawing the Bernier/Pyatt comparison solely based on the facts that Kassian is big and didn't score very much for us, and are hoping for this perceived "Bernier/Pyatt" clone to magically evolve into a Lucic or Bertuzzi once the coaches feed him enough 'rare candies.' Player development doesn't work like that. He has the raw ability that neither Pyatt nor Bernier ever had. He just needs to clean up his execution and calm his nerves. He's a heads-up power forward, and that doesn't translate into being a plug unless someone really screws up with your development, putting you in situations where you're unable to score due to weak linemates or tough opposition. We would be stupid to put him on a grinding line. We saved him from Buffalo, and without a season to lose.
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#22 gradin123

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 01:59 AM

I don't think he had a point in their preseason, he only showed up in the scoresheet with a penalty. Just saying.

I might go to a game in Abbottsford to see him live though.

Edited by gradin123, 12 October 2012 - 02:01 AM.

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#23 Boudrias

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:03 AM

I hope Kassian's numbers emphasize his playmaking. Even last season his ability to take the puck into the offensive zone and do something useful with it was very apparent. I think some people are drawing the Bernier/Pyatt comparison solely based on the facts that Kassian is big and didn't score very much for us, and are hoping for this perceived "Bernier/Pyatt" clone to magically evolve into a Lucic or Bertuzzi once the coaches feed him enough 'rare candies.' Player development doesn't work like that. He has the raw ability that neither Pyatt nor Bernier ever had. He just needs to clean up his execution and calm his nerves. He's a heads-up power forward, and that doesn't translate into being a plug unless someone really screws up with your development, putting you in situations where you're unable to score due to weak linemates or tough opposition. We would be stupid to put him on a grinding line. We saved him from Buffalo, and without a season to lose.

Just a point. Bernier was a 1st Rounder who was highly thought of. For whatever reason it never clicked for him until last year. I thought he was dominant in his 4th line role for the Devils in CUP play. His line was doing so well that their minutes kept increasing as they went thru the playoffs. Sometimes you have to have that right mix of players and a coach who knows how to play you.
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#24 WiDeN

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:55 AM

Who else is going to be watching the game on Saturday?

I had it set to record like a week ago.
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#25 Langdon Algur

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:56 AM

Just a point. Bernier was a 1st Rounder who was highly thought of. For whatever reason it never clicked for him until last year. I thought he was dominant in his 4th line role for the Devils in CUP play. His line was doing so well that their minutes kept increasing as they went thru the playoffs. Sometimes you have to have that right mix of players and a coach who knows how to play you.


great point, Pyatt was also a first rounder. Sadly at this point the comparisons to those to players are too easy to make for Kassian who finds himself at the same point Bernier and Pyatt were a few years back between trying to make as a top 6 or becoming a 4th line grinder. Lte's hope he fairs better than those two players and becomes our next Bertuzi minus the sucker punching.
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#26 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:19 AM

May the transition from Canucks 4th liner to Wolves 2nd liner be successful this season, Mr. Zack Kassian.
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#27 Erik Karlsson

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:47 AM

Just a point. Bernier was a 1st Rounder who was highly thought of. For whatever reason it never clicked for him until last year. I thought he was dominant in his 4th line role for the Devils in CUP play. His line was doing so well that their minutes kept increasing as they went thru the playoffs. Sometimes you have to have that right mix of players and a coach who knows how to play you.


Agreed, from my experience when I used to play hockey, coaching can definately make or break you most of the time. That's why I'm iffy with AV, he doesn't have a good history with prospects, as we all know.
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#28 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:15 AM

Yeah, AV's misinterpreted history with prospects will mean fairly little this season, won't it.

The return of Arniel is what will matter a bit more. Let's hope he gets some decent results like he's done in the past with the Moose.
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#29 avelanch

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:16 AM

i have all the faith in the world with arniel.
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#30 Gollumpus

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:15 AM

Agreed, from my experience when I used to play hockey, coaching can definately make or break you most of the time. That's why I'm iffy with AV, he doesn't have a good history with prospects, as we all know.


Bieksa, Kesler, Schneider, Edler, Hansen, Bourdon (RIP), Raymond, Burrows. We might even be able to add in the Sedins.

On the other side of the ledger we have Hodgson (offensively gifted but soft, not particularly fast and defensively, a work in progress), Grabner (multiple questions about his defensive play prior to him being moved) and Shirokov (see Grabner).

AV has a good history with prospects, as we all know.

regards,
G.
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