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Cole Cassels Talk

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Cassels ranks #17 in the Canucks Army midterm rankings: http://canucksarmy.com/2017/1/12/canucks-army-midterm-prospect-rankings-18-17

 

Open spoiler below to read their full writeup:

 

#17: COLE CASSELS

Previous Ranking: 15th
 

Position: Centre - Shoots: Right - Height: - 6'0" - Weight: 179 lbs

 

 

Cole Cassels story is well chronicled in this space as well as many others. Taken in the 3rd round (85th overall) at the 2013 draft, Cassels gradually improved his numbers over his OHL career, which culminated in an epic playoff series against Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, in which Cassels was praised for "shutting down" McDavid (relatively speaking at least; McDavid's contributions at even strength were noticeably limited).

Cassels was flying high, and heading into the 2015-16 season, there were questions about just how long it would be in his first professional season before he earned his first call up. Canucks Army had him ranked as the seventh best Canucks prospect at that point, and you can see his rise to prominence in this chart - as well as his precipitous fall.

Cole Cassels Rankings 

Cassels' first year in Utica did not go as hoped or expected. Having played through an abdominal injury through much of his final junior year, he underwent offseason surgery that in turn hampered his ability to properly train for the upcoming season. As a result, he spent much of the season trying to play catch up - and it took him 21 games to get his first AHL goal. The entire ordeal wreaked havoc on him psychologically.

This year-to-year projection shows his rise and fall as he transferred from junior to professional hockey.

Cole Cassels 

This season was supposed to be a fresh start for Cassels, who was granted the appropriate amount of time to properly train in the offseason. However, after 28 games, Cassels has just four points, all of them goals. While that represents double the output he managed last season, it's still not what we were hoping for, and combined with the fact that he's another year older, it's only kept his projections in decline.

Cole Cassels Cohort 

Just a few months ago, I was fairly optimistic of his ability to resuscitate his career. In August, I ended his Preseason Ranking with an air of hopefulness:

With expectations lowered and a full off-season of good health and complete training, he should be about to get back on track. Travis Green still seems to have faith in Cassels and believes that with a good off-season, he can come in and be a main contributor in Utica. We'll be hoping for a return to form in Cassels' future, and that he can use that unfortunate experience to fuel him, rather than sink him.

 

Instead, his chances of becoming a full time NHLer seem to be diminishing with each passing month. It's still not out of the question that he finds another gear - he's still got another year and a year remaining on his ELC. If he does manage to make it, the odds are higher that it will be as a replacement level player, as many of his statistical matches were (see below), where even if he hits 200 games, it's not as a player who's in the lineup each and every night.

Cole Cassels Lines Bar 

Cassels' four goals and no assists is a bit ironic considering that one of my main criticisms of him is that he tends to be an over-passer. He turns down situations to shoot the puck in favour of finding a teammate - sometimes even when the teammate is in a less advantageous shooting position.

Despite his good vision and passing ability, it hasn't amounted to any helpers yet this campaign. A portion of this could be due to his linemates: typically deployed as Utica's fourth line center, Cassels is often saddled with less experienced wingers (although not necessarily less skilled - smaller skilled players like Michael Carcone and Cody Kunyk frequently flank him).

Cassels has managed to find himself a niche as an important penalty killer. After Travis Green rolls out Wacey Hamilton and Carter Bancks as his primary unit, Cassels is almost always on the second pairing out of the gate, usually with Darren Archibald. He also doesn't see his role reduced late in games, particular when the Comets are trying to nurse a lead. The fact that Green trusts him can only help going forwards.

If Cassels can find a little more of an offensive gear, it's not out of the question that we could see him in a Canucks uniform one day. He's not exactly trending in the right direction at this point, but he's not at the end of his rope either.

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1 1/2 years left to figure it out right? In the salary cap era everything should be run using the Detroit model.

 

It means...sorry son. You have to wait until next year, because the contract says so. 

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Is Cassels hurt? He didn't play tonight nor the previous game on Tuesday. 

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12 hours ago, Tiger-Hearted said:

Is Cassels hurt? He didn't play tonight nor the previous game on Tuesday. 

Sick

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Has anyone watched Cassels play this year? I imagine his stats aren't overwhelming but he should be showing signs of putting it together defensively and working hard every shift. Does he look like he could have an NHL career ahead of him?

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5 hours ago, Horvat is a Boss said:

Has anyone watched Cassels play this year? I imagine his stats aren't overwhelming but he should be showing signs of putting it together defensively and working hard every shift. Does he look like he could have an NHL career ahead of him?

I wouldn't say he has a NHL career ahead of him since he still has a lot in his game that he has to improve on. But if he does manage to put it all together, he has a good shot of having a successful NHL career as a bottom 6 forward. He played pretty well tonight as I think he was scratched last night, not sure about that part though. He was doing the little things right, forechecking well, being positional sound but he still has to work on his offensive game. If he gets that part of his game going, he's going to be a solid NHLer

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14 hours ago, Beary Sweet said:

I wouldn't say he has a NHL career ahead of him since he still has a lot in his game that he has to improve on. But if he does manage to put it all together, he has a good shot of having a successful NHL career as a bottom 6 forward. He played pretty well tonight as I think he was scratched last night, not sure about that part though. He was doing the little things right, forechecking well, being positional sound but he still has to work on his offensive game. If he gets that part of his game going, he's going to be a solid NHLer

2nd pro season for Cassels. Another year in Utica will not hurt.

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16 hours ago, Beary Sweet said:

I wouldn't say he has a NHL career ahead of him since he still has a lot in his game that he has to improve on. But if he does manage to put it all together, he has a good shot of having a successful NHL career as a bottom 6 forward. He played pretty well tonight as I think he was scratched last night, not sure about that part though. He was doing the little things right, forechecking well, being positional sound but he still has to work on his offensive game. If he gets that part of his game going, he's going to be a solid NHLer

 

Thanks for the update. Sounds like he's adjusting defensively to the AHL now.

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Why not send him to the Aces? I mean, the guy clearly needs to regain his mojo

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It is make or break next year for him. If he can't find a way to challenge for a roster spot by then we will probably release him. 

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"He's taking big face-offs & he's big on special teams. He might not be on scoresheets, but he's helping in other ways." - Ben Birnell (Utica Comets reporter) on Cassels

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I'm very impressed with Cassels in the last few months, he's really putting it together.  This is the first time I've actually thought he has a chance to make it.  

 

So smart

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like he is starting to find his ground and his niche in the game.  Good to hear.

 

Also if anyone is interested, Cassels still got some jam to his game...something the big club sorely lacks

 

 

Edited by CRAZY_4_NAZZY
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21 minutes ago, stawns said:

I'm very impressed with Cassels in the last few months, he's really putting it together.  This is the first time I've actually thought he has a chance to make it.  

 

So smart

our fanbase is so impatient. i remember not too long ago where we questioned whether he was going to make it at all. even at the AHL level. glad to see that he's been given time to just mature as a person and for his game to mature. 

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1 hour ago, CRAZY_4_NAZZY said:

Sounds like he is starting to find his ground and his niche in the game.  Good to hear.

 

Also if anyone is interested, Cassels still got some jam to his game...something the big club sorely lacks

 

 

Nice...."Cassels and Burrows"................check that Burroughs, made me look anyway.

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11 hours ago, N4ZZY said:

our fanbase is so impatient. i remember not too long ago where we questioned whether he was going to make it at all. even at the AHL level. glad to see that he's been given time to just mature as a person and for his game to mature. 

Yeah, remember not too many years ago when the accepted wisdom was the 'Detroit model' and leaving guys to simmer in the A for half their career...now the model has changed, but it looks like we're not competing in this era anyway...perhaps in five years we'll be the new model of having had patience with our prospects until they could dominate

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45 minutes ago, nzan said:

Yeah, remember not too many years ago when the accepted wisdom was the 'Detroit model' and leaving guys to simmer in the A for half their career...now the model has changed, but it looks like we're not competing in this era anyway...perhaps in five years we'll be the new model of having had patience with our prospects until they could dominate

i think patience is key with young players - young people in general. many of them are rushed to be impact players, but they're not all made the same way. some are more gifted than others, and will need more time, irrespective of where they were drafted - whether first round pick, or 4th round pick. it still depends on the person and player to mature, and develop their game at the next level. just like everyone on these boards aren't made the same way. we wouldn't expect each other to respond to the same thinking or see the same perspective. I think it's the same way then as well with many of our young prospects. some of them may have been drafted in the first round (i.e. Jake), but making an immediate impact may have been too much for him (too much pressure, not enough practice time for good habits to form and develop, coaching, etc). And some others may have been drafted later (i.e. Hutton, Tryamkin, etc) but have made more immediate impacts - it really does depend on each person and player. Cassels,  I'm glad is making strides and improvements, hoping that he can be a solid bottom six player for us down the road. 

 

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I had to go to page 4 of our Prospects pages to find the Cassels thread.  That speaks well of what GMJB is doing, but poorly of Cassels.  Anybody think he will ever play in the NHL?

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1 minute ago, Dixon Ward said:

I had to go to page 4 of our Prospects pages to find the Cassels thread.  That speaks well of what GMJB is doing, but poorly of Cassels.  Anybody think he will ever play in the NHL?

I still think it's very possible, yes.  He was finally healthy last year and he made great strides.  I woukd say Green considered him one of the most responsible, trust worthy fwds last season.  His hockey iq is excellent and his skating was much improved last year.

 

It may not be with Van, but I think he has an NHL career.

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