LRT: NO ZACK KASSIAN DOES NOT WORK WITH THE SEDINS HE IS NOT MILAN LUCIC OR CAM NEELY HE IS A PASSER NOT A GOAL SCORER DON'T PUT HIM ON RW1But, as always, arguments about anything involve more nuance than bullshit stuff I blurt out over Twitter, so that's why I have a blog. Here, I can qualify the dumb stuff I say with significantly less dumb stuff and overall have not-dumb opinions on things. Well, that's how it's supposed to work anyways.
— Rhys J (@Thats_Offside) July 2, 2014
I digress. This is an article about Zack Kassian.
|I googled Zack Kassian images. It was a fantastic decision.|
|Kassian is not known for his shrewd decision making without the puck.|
|"Oh god Henrik I am so sorry."|
It also shouldn't really come as a surprise that Kassian probably found his best success as a Canuck when paired with David Booth. Stylistically, Booth and Kassian couldn't really be more different - Booth is a serious shoot-first play-driving winger who I suspect is dynamite through the neutral zone. Booth is good at freeing up pucks, and he is good at going into high-traffic areas without the puck in hope of hacking and whacking away. Essentially, he's everything that every coach who's ever had Zack Kassian wants Kassian to play like. Chip and chase, go to the net, compete, etc. etc.
The two most important points to make about Zack Kassian last year though are as follows:
|"David's gone...? Is he ever coming back?"|
- He was deployed in a very unfavourable role in terms of offensive production. Between Brad Richardson and a 43.3% ZoneStart rate, Kassian's deployment was primarily defensive for some reason, which seems like an odd use of assets to say the least if you're concerned about his D. One would think that Torts would use him like Bruce Boudreau used Pat Maroon if there was a legitimate concern about Kassian's defensive game. Here's Kassian's PUC from last year:
- The second big thing to note about Kassian is that despite a defensive deployment with mostly a poor centreman, he led all Canucks players in even strength points/60 minutes last year at 1.91 Pts/60. This mark tied him with Brandon Saad, James Van Riemsdyk, David Perron, Reilly Smith, and Ryan O'Reilly for 73rd in the NHL. There are, by definition, 90 1st line forwards at the NHL at any given time, so last year Zack Kassian produced points at a 1st line rate at 5v5. He's a good player.
Since Kassian is capable of offence relatively on his own, it may not be the best idea to play him with the Sedins at even strength. There's not really a stylistic fit there as they're all pass-first guys, and Vancouver is kinda shallow in terms of offensive punch up front. I would prefer to see Kassian on a second line with a play-driver like Alex Burrows and hope that Nick Bonino is legit and not a PDO mirage and try someone like Linden Vey at 1RW to try and spread the wealth around a bit.
*goes to proofread post*
*about to hit "Publish"*
*CANUCKS SIGN RADIM VRBATA*
Well now, this whole argument is kinda moot. Vrbata is a bona-fide top-line RW who's a shoot-first guy. Since 2011, his Goals/60 is good for 45th in the NHL, nearly identical to Alex Burrows. He wasn't as good this past season, but, much like Burrows, that's largely percentage-related as he shot just 5.11% at ES. His Shots/60 was fairly constant with his career norms this past year, while his individual shot attempts actually saw a jump.
Vrbata's also an elite shot producer and a better PP scorer than Ryan Kesler traditionally has been. This acquisition should insulate Kassian a bit at RW, and provide a better fit for Daniel and Henrik than Kassian would. At the end of the day though, Kassian is likely a legitimate top-6 forward, and deserving of better deployments, more talented linemates, and hopefully, hopefully, some PP time as well.
|"WE GOT RADIM!"|