In preparation for the NHL Draft on June 26, Die by the Blade will profile potential Buffalo Sabres Draft Picks. This feature will run daily with one or two players profiled each day.
Peterborough (Ontario Hockey League)
6' 3" 210 lbs.
Hometown: Lasalle, ON
Date of Birth: January 24, 1991
Stats: 61 GP, 24 G, 39 A, 63 PTS
The Good - Look no further than his profile on NHL.com to find out what type of player he is. His favorite website is dropyourgloves.com, favorite book is Hockey Tough and his pump up song is "Thunderstruck" by ACDC. It doesn't get much tougher than that.
Kassian is a big strong kid that plays the game with a aggression. He plays with a mean streak and goes on the ice looking for a hit. He will drop the gloves whenever he needs to and sometimes just because he wants to. He also uses his size along the boards to manhandle opponents and he drives the net with authority.
He is probably the most NHL-ready of all the draft prospects. His size and strength make him a can't miss NHL prospect.
The Bad - His size and strength will guarantee him a spot in the NHL but nobody can predict how he projects offensively in the NHL. Best case scenario is a big strong power forward that can contribute 20-25 goakls and worst case scenario he is a third or fourth line role player. He was a point-per-game player in the OHL this season but they may not translate into the NHL where it is plenty tougher.
He does not have a very strong shot so he will need to contribute in the corners and in front of the net. He does seem to have very good vision and play making ability. His paly making ability will be an area he will need to continue to improve so he can become an elite player.
He is known as a hard worker in games and in practice but has also been known to take shifts off. he can get away with that in the OHL but will need to be more consistent in the NHL.
What They Are Saying
He is at his best when he is playing physical and tough along the boards. He protects the puck very well and fights through checks. He has very good play-making and puck-handling abilities."
Why the Sabres Might Pick Him
He is everything the Sabres not. He is big, tough, strong and plays a physical brand of hockey. He is the Power Forward that has eluded Buffalo for years. He brings a mean streak that has been needed in Buffalo for years, dare I say since the 80's or early 90's?
This pick is a Public Relations dream for the Sabres. Sabres fans have been agitated with the lack of toughness on this team and this would be a step in the right direction. This is a team that has missed the playoffs in two consecutive seasons and has been accused of being cheap, they need a PR boost.
Why the Sabres Might Pass on Him
His offensive upside might be limited which could scare teams away, including the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have not had much luck with their recent first round draft picks and they might not want to take a chance on another player that could be a bust.