The newest Ottawa Senators forward isn't going to help the team score goals, but he'll address one need on the roster: The need for a bit of sandpaper.
Matt Kassian was acquired today from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Before getting all bent out of shape about the pick, please note: It's in the 2014 Entry Draft, so it'll be a late sixth-rounder since the Sens are going to win the Stanley Cup next season.
Oct 28, 1986
So far this season, Kassian's got 0P and 0A in 0NHL GP plus one goal in nine games with the AHL's Houston Aeros. In his career, he has two goals, no assists, and 67 penalty minutes in 28 NHL games. His fight card includes nine NHL fights and a bunch in the AHL and ECHL. I don't think anyone's wondering what he's bringing to the Senators roster, and the good news is he does it well: Of seven NHL fights he was in last season, voters on HockeyFights.com gave Kassian four wins and three draws and didn't get any instigator penalties so that's good.
Bryan Murray, via the Sens website, on the acquisition:
He's a big strong guy, he's a very physical player, he's a very willing combatant. With the number of young players and injuries we have on our roster, there has got to be a sense of comfort that they can go out and play without being pushed around, which has happened a couple times here so we just felt it was a need and an addition that, given the opportunity to get one, a guy like this, a big guy, he's a young player and we're hoping that he'll work with our coaches and be a real contributor to our team.
Whether or not you agree that his presence on the roster will have an overall positive effect, it's obvious that Murray subscribes to the conventional belief that an enforcer will allow his teammates to skate with a bit more confidence. That's the thinking behind this acquisition.
Kassian's not likely to play every game, but he'll draw in here and there. I'm not sure if he's a decent skater, but if he is, he might even be able to provide some decent forechecking on the fourth line. We'll see.
I'm not holding my breath that Kassian will help the Sens win many games, but I'm always excited to see what new players can bring to the table. And if his presence in the lineup means that Chris Phillips and Patrick Wiercioch won't be tabbed with 19 penalty minutes each, then that's a good thing.