The Minnesota Wild has continued to add to its signings just before the July 1st deadline to re-sign free agents, this time keeping forward Matt Kassian on the roster. The 6-foot-4, 232 pound Edmonton native was one of a number of free agents to receive offers from Minnesota after the team resigned Chad Rau and Stephane Veilleux.
Kassian tallied two goals in his 24 games in a Wild jersey last year, but there is no doubt that he is not being paid to help put the puck in the back of the net. The winger quickly emerged as the team’s primary enforcer after his mid-season call up from the AHL affiliate Houston Aeros, and often let his physical play speak for itself, compiling 55 penalty minutes in his short time with Minnesota during the 2011-2012 season. For those keeping track, that’s an average of 2 minutes and 29 seconds of penalty time per game.
Unfortunately, Matt suffered a sports hernia late in the year, but he has continued to show the toughness that made him Minnesota’s second round pick in the 2005 NHL draft, and elevated him to status as a club regular late this year through a quick recovery.
Kassian has proved to be quite the personality in the locker room, keeping the mood light and playing jokes with his teammates and the public. On the ice, he could become a real asset for a team who’s trying to find some offensive rhythm, taking care of the physical play and opening up the ice a little more for the skill players to work in their roles.
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