Habs knew Kassian’s history prior to trade with Canucks

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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.