The Senators have acquired forward Matt Kassian from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2014 6th round draft pick. The 6'5, 247 pound left winger is 26 years old, and has played just 28 games in his NHL career, none of which this season, and is a career 0.1 PPG in the AHL.
In other words, he is what you might call a "goon". The kind of player Melnyk has railed against for years, even going so far as to state he had given Murray a mandate not to sign them. Quite the mandate indeed. Yep, the front office is clearly listening very closlely to what Eugene has to say on hockey matters (which frankly is the way it should be).
Bob McKenzie talked about the Sens interest in bringing in "toughness" on TSN last week. And today's move would seem to be a pure reactionary move to Dizzy being KO'ed...and everyone knows "reactionary" moves are the best kind a GM can make.
I am not a fan of this move, even though a 6th round pick for next season's draft is not much to give up. According to Oilers blog Copper & Blue, a team with a pick between 101 and 200th overall has about a 4% chance of drafting a top player (ie a Top 5 forward or Top 3 defenceman on a team).
Heavyweights like Kassian, tend to be liabilites opposing player skate circles around, not to mention their propensity for unessecarry minor penalties. By adding Kassian, the Sens might also be taking away a roster spot from useful penalty killers like Daugavins or O'Brien, or maybe Peter Regin will be forced to sit in the press box more. To be honest, I'll take the 4% at having a good player 5 or so years down the road than having one those guys lose a regular spot in the lineup.
After losing Carkner and Konopka, "team toughness" became a big topic until the season started when people realized that the Sens were good and didn't really need them anymore. Having a guy like Kassian play 5 minutes per night doesn't make your team tough. What makes your team tough is like what Boston has; skilled Top 4 defenceman and Top 6 forwards who play physical and who will drop the gloves when needed. That way, they seemingly always have a player on the ice who is just as likely to throw a big hit as he is to contribute to his team through quality play.
The reason the Sens are losing games isn't because they aren't tough, but because they can't score goals. Kassian won't help that. Although I'm sure a lot of people will be happy with this move, has anyone seen Brennan since this went down?
Or just take if from last year's Stanley Cup winning head coach:
Sutter on goons: "We’d rather those guys be on the ice, because then we can take advantage of it." lakingsinsider.com/2012/03/03/sut…— Robert JftC (@RobertJFTC) March 5, 2013
In a league where goons run 2mpg during the regular season, tough teams run the postseason by wearing down opponents for 60 mins. Every Kings player looked tough as nails through their Stanley Cup run.
While this trade is a temporary band aid reacting to cheapshots on Sens players, I think the Sens have become a grittier team during actual play. Zibanejad and Silfverberg look great along the walls.
I remember watching a Jets or Thrashers game where someone took a run at Bogosian. He got up and nailed that team's best skill player. Nobody touched him for the rest of the game.
@6thSens amen brother... I'm with you on the latest acquisition.
People regularly point to Boston as a team with physicality throughout their roster. While this is true, many overlook the fact that they have shitty old Shawn Thornton whose sole existence is to throw bombs. While I would prefer to have acquired a highly skilled physical player, I won’t hate on the goon.
@6thSens young players like playing in safe environment. Sens used to have that, will hopefully get than back now.