Zack Kassian is aware of the trade rumors, and he’s not particularly happy about them.
“You never like to hear that,” the big Canucks winger told The Province newspaper this weekend. “I love to play for Vancouver. Is it true? I don’t know. I know I’ve underachieved so far and from being the guy I was last year for the last stretch of the season.”
Kassian, currently out of the lineup with a finger injury, has just two goals in 17 games. The Canucks had hoped prior to the season that the 23-year-old could play in the top six, a hope that was buoyed after he finished last season with 12 points in his last 17 games.
Another potential factor in all this is Kassian’s off-ice conduct. Remember that the previous management regime in Vancouver had to talk to him about “being a professional away from the rink,” and the current general manager, former Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning, was the one who uttered the phrase, “We’re not babysitters,” about Tyler Seguin.
Granted, there’s no evidence that Kassian’s professionalism has been an issue this season, and the Canucks would certainly be taking a risk if they traded him away. Many have noted the similarities between Kassian and former Vancouver power forward Todd Bertuzzi, who didn’t hit his stride until after the Islanders traded the “23-year-old underachiever.”