On Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild sent enforcer Matt Kassian to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft. The move adds a player with good size who plays a physical game to an ailing Senators roster and ends a three-year struggle for the Wild to find a place in their lineup for Kassian.
Minnesota selected Kassian in the second round of the 2005 draft, after he had played two seasons in the Western Hockey League for the Vancouver Giants and Kamloops Blazers. In the year after he was drafted, Kassian scored five goals and reached 11 points while amassing 147 penalty minutes. His final junior season saw him post the best numbers of his WHL career: eight goals, 18 points and 162 penalty minutes. The next four seasons saw Kassian slide into a regular role with the AHL’s Houston Aeros before he finally got a four-game call-up for the Wild.
Last season Kassian split time between the Wild and the Aeros, scoring two goals for each team. The quicker development of Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker and other prospects, as well as the presence of Zenon Konopka, left little room for Kassian with the Wild and he will now have a chance to start fresh in the Senators’ organization. Kassian was at Minnesota’s training camp when the lockout ended but has yet to play in an NHL game this season, and in nine games with the Aeros he had one goal and 12 penalty minutes. In his more than 225 career AHL games, Kassian has scored 12 goals while recording more than 500 penalty minutes.