The Montreal Canadiens knew what they were getting when they acquired Zack Kassian from Vancouver.
Specifically, they were getting a player who had already been through the first stage of the NHL/NHLPA’s substance-abuse treatment program. Kassian was suspended without pay and placed in Stage Two yesterday, the day after suffering minor injuries in an early-morning car accident.
Montreal coach Michel Therrien confirmed to reporters today that the club knew of Kassian’s history prior to the trade that sent the 24-year-old winger to Montreal, along with a fifth-round draft pick, in return for veteran forward Brandon Prust, a pending unrestricted free agent.
That the Canucks had to include a draft pick in the deal perhaps makes more sense now than it did at the time.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The St. Louis Blues have assigned two forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie, and two defensemen, Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, to AHL Chicago.
The moves mean that the Blues will have two young d-men, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, on the opening-day roster, after both impressed in camp.
From the Post-Dispatch:
Lindbohm and Butler looked to be the sixth and seventh defensemen, in that order, at the start of camp, but the play of Edmundson and Parayko won them spots. Parayko had six assists in the preseason, putting him among the NHL leaders.
Forward Robby Fabbri will also be on the opening-day roster. The 19-year-old is not eligible for the AHL; he can only be returned to junior.
Earlier today, the Blues announced the signing of forward Scottie Upshall.
Joe Pavelski is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks. The club made the announcement today via Twitter.
The former captain, Joe Thornton, will be an alternate captain, along with Logan Couture.
Pavelski, 31, was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season, finishing with 37 goals and 33 assists. He’s also signed through 2018-19, so giving him the ‘C’ makes sense from a long-term stability perspective.
Couture, 26, is also signed through 2018-19, while Thornton, 36, only has two years left on his contract.
The Sharks had four alternate captains (Thornton, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in 2014-15, but no captain.
Related: DeBoer says Sharks will have a captain next season
Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.
Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.
Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”