Heavyweight or Paperweight? – How The Matt Kassian Trade Puts The Ottawa Senators in A Tight Spot

The latest Ottawa Senators game lasted 63 minutes and 54 seconds. Matt Kassian watched the game from the bench for 60 minutes and 33  seconds or actually touched the ice for 3 minutes and 21 seconds. No kidding I think I spent more time getting up from my seat to get myself another beer, while watching the game. Now your probably wondering why any of this even matters. I will explain…

Oct 11, 2011; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Then Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Kassian (left) fights against Past Ottawa Senators center Zenon Konopka (right) in the first period at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

After watching a couple Senators players that never/rarely fight a couple times, Senators general manager, Bryan Murray pulled off the impulse move to acquire, Matt Kassian. I am sure that some people actually like the trade, just as much as some that do not. I fit in the latter.

I am not against fighting by any means, but I find it hard to believe that Kassian fits into Paul MacLean‘s line-up. The coach runs the kind of system that requires players to possess the puck as much as possible and always be skating it into the oppositions defensive zone to try and create scoring chances. His kind of defense is offense, to a certain extent.

Kassian is a fighter. He does not possess the skills of a player that can do both, fight and create chances i.e. Chris Neil and Zack Smith. The fact that the new number 28, played an astounding 3:21 proves just how much he fits in the probable Jack Adams finalist’s line-up. I assume that it was Murray who wanted this player and not MacLean. This is why I feel this puts the Senators in a tight spot. I don’t believe the coach was jumping up and down when he heard the news and probably figured he had to remove talent in the line-up for a player that talents include dropping his gloves. For example he had to remove the recent twitter sensation, Kaspars Daugavins from the line-up, who 11 points last year and was a force on the penalty kill for a player who played 24 games for the Minnesota Wild and registered 2 goals (in the same game). He did nothing more the rest of the games but put up 55 PIMs.

Kassian has one more year left on his contract, I find it hard to find a spot for him in the line-up either once, Jason Spezza or maybe even Milan Michalek, come back into the mix. Or you can even go further and ask yourself where does he fit next year?

Feel free to voice your opinion in the comment section!

 

Topics: Matt Kassian, NHL, Ottawa Senators, Trade

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  • Jared Crozier

    exaclty why I wanted the Senators go give up a little more to bring in Ryan Clowe, a player who can score 20 and also take care of business physically and with the fists. What good is Kassian if there isn’t a tough guy on the other side?

  • http://twitter.com/C_Habets Chris Habets

    I with you on this one as well.

  • http://twitter.com/LemayPhil Phil Lemay

    Would like to note that Kassian was only allowed to take a full shift after the Sens took a 3 goal lead in the third…. goes to show you once again that MacLean has no faith in him.

  • Craig Davis

    We got Kassian for virtually nothing.

    Lets not forget, Maclean is playing him (albeit minimally), if Maclean didn’t want him out there, he’d be scratched. Prior to the trade, I doubt if anyone here even remembers seeing him play, if at all. He’s not made any glaring mistakes in his early tenure and he seems to be a nice enough guy with a sharp wit, that’s certainly not bad in the locker room.

    In instances where a team needs some motivation or something to pump them up (i.e. pretty much Ottawa’s stretch before Kassian joined the team), a tough guy can turn things around (Carkner on Boyle in the playoffs last year). Even if an enforcers actions result in a small shift in motivation, that could win games. Ottawa has been lacking someone like this since losing Carkner and Konopka, and to say they don’t need that presence there is laughable. There’s a reason Murray’s making the trades and not bloggers and columnists.

    I also fail to see how getting a guy in for almost nothing puts Ottawa in a tight spot, easy come, easy go. If it doesn’t work out, he’s gone, and the sens have someone else to step in, easy as that. This is the exact opposite of a tight spot.

  • Dan Beadle

    jared – sens would’ve had to give up a lot more, not a little more, to bring in clowe. please, enough already with the clowe thing, it’s not happening.
    phil – your article fails to mention maclaren KO’ing DD and winning the last BoO for the leafs by gaining momentum through intimidation literally right off the draw, and that’s a pretty glaring omission. like craig said, kassian won’t play near every night but he will & should play against teams with legitimate heavyweights, to avoid just the thing that happened in the last installment of the BoO. That’s the reality of playing in the northeast, and getting a regular dose of carlysle’s leafs and the B’s, there’s a bit of an arms race on and some nights you need a heavyweight to level the playing field. not saying i like it, but that’s the reality.

    • Jared Crozier

      please read my follow-up regarding why Kassian wasn’t used to fill that role against the Jets…

      • Dan Beadle

        Kassian asked Thorburn to go in the 1st and Thorburn, probably all wore out from scrapping with Orr the night before, repectfully declined, was stapled to the bench, and didn’t trouble the Sens for the rest of the game. And there you have it, sure it helped that Thorburn was tuckered out, but Kassian filled his role nicely without even throwing a punch by deterring the other squads heavyweight from causing ruckus. Your follow-up suggests, and again sorry but I disagree, that Kassian should’ve started a fight in the dying minutes of a game the Sens were winning, against a team they won’t play again in the regular season, and a guy that’s a big boy but doesn’t really throw ‘em much anymore (Buff) who got a penalty on the play anyway. I know it’s you & Phil’s gig to dissect Murray & MacLean’s decisions, but I’m 100% with them on this one. Murray acquired the Kassian to dress when there’s an opposing heavyweight dressing and/or a good chance of shananigans (if not tonight against the Isles, see exhibit B for Bruins on Thursday) and, when it’s actually warranted and MacLean deems it so, Kassian will get his punches in.

  • http://twitter.com/LemayPhil Phil Lemay

    Glad to see my article sparked some comments, I love a good old hockey debate and that was the purpose of it. and Dan you are right I did not mention the DD KO, maybe I should have added it but my reasoning for the article was to explain that MacLean’s system isn’t really built for a pure fighter and guys like Carkner and Konopka had other skill sets like playing decent defence and winning a face-off in the defensive zone when needed. Who knows maybe I will be proven wrong about Kassian, I can only hope that I am and he proves to be valuable. If so then that is whats great about this sport things can change in a hurry!

  • http://twitter.com/LemayPhil Phil Lemay

    Also Craig I never once said I should be a GM and never said Murray made a mistake, what I did say was that it was an impulse move and that I do not feel it was a great move and explained why I don’t think he fits in MacLean’s system. this was purely an opinionated article and nothing more, was meant to finally create some talk in the comment section and believe I have done so! Lets keep this up!

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