Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian got off to a great start to the 2013 season, but then faded away for the team the rest of the season. The first seven games saw Kassian score five goals while playing on the top line with Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, but he would manage only two goals the rest of the season. Kassian finished the season minus-7 and while he provided the Canucks with some value thanks to his physical play and fighting, the expectations for the former first-round pick continue to be higher than his performance level.
Kassian will forever be linked to Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres, as the two first round picks were traded for each other during the 2011-12 season. Hodgson finished second on the Sabres this season with 15 goals and 34 points, and while the two play very different styles Hodgson has so far proven to be the better value. Kassian didn’t even crack the Canucks’ top ten this season and was a non-factor in the playoffs, and while he’s still young with a ton of upside he isn’t the only player fighting for playing time.
Seeing Kassian only have success when playing with the Sedins is troubling, as any player who lines up alongside that duo is almost guaranteed a boost in production. The Canucks may want to try him out on that line again next season, but he has to score a lot more if he hopes to keep that spot. He did show a bit more promise than his one goal, three-point performance in his first 17 games with the Canucks in 2012.