The Unexplainable Matt Kassian Effect On The Ottawa Senators


It is one of those things that is unexplainabe.  The Pyramids in Egypt, the popularity of Duck Dynasty, and Bobby Ryan being left off the Team USA roster.

Add to that confounding list the record of the Ottawa Senators with enforcer Matt Kassian in the lineup this season.  I don’t like it when I can’t understand things, and this is very perplexing.

Apr 5, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Matt Kassian (28) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Senators 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Kassian plays on average 3 minutes and 54 seconds of ice time per game in the games he plays.  That totals has been 20 games of the 43 the Senators have played so far this season.  He has amassed the grand total of 0 goals, 0 assists and remarkably enough, 0 points.  He has a rating of -2.   Even for an enforcer, the total of 27 penalty minutes is not that impressive.  That if 5 fighting majors and a tripping penalty.  A fight every 4 games he plays.

Add that up, and there is no wonder why he dresses for less than half the games.

So, why are the Senators a far better team with him in the lineup?

You can find stats to prove anything, but one thing you cannot argue with is the final result.

The Senators record through 43 games is 18-18-7.  Exactly .500, with 43 points to show for 43 games.

The club’s record with Kassian in the lineup – 11-3-6.  That is a winning percentage of .700 (28 of a possible 40 points).

Without Kassian patrolling the wing, (or more accurately the bench) the Senators are 7-15-1, for a winning percentage of .320 (15 of a possible 46 points).

Apr 20, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Matt Kassian (28) and Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Ryan Hamilton (48) fight in the first period at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Does the team play just a little bit bigger knowing he is there if needed to take care of business?  Is there really a role for a straight-out enforcer in the NHL after all?  Does he just bring an attitude that keeps the rest of the players loose on the ice?  Is he just a token of good luck for some reason?

I don’t know if there is a simple answer to the question, and I don’t know if I like that fact.  Kassian is not one of the 12 best forwards on the roster at any given time if the team is healthy, and most nights really should not be in the lineup.

I said at the start of the year that Kassian does have a role on the team, but it would be sparingly, and I was right.  However the success of the team with him in the lineup could not even be explained by Stephen Hawking.