28 February 2012
I've enlisted the help of Joey Pinzone from Buffalo Wins for his thoughts on Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani
1. Describe Zach Kassian's style of play.
Joey: Kassian was suppose to be the Sabres version of Milan Lucic. He's a big power forward with a really nice shot. Now I want to make something clear, Zack Kassian wasn't even suppose to play in the NHL this year.
Last year, he'd played in the OHL and for the Canadian World Juniors. Normally, the Sabres would have their first round picks play for at least 1-2 years in the AHL before they get brought up. This was suppose to be the year that Kassian got his taste of The AHL and maybe within a year or two, he'd be up with the Sabres.
Unfortunately, the Sabres were hit heavily with injuries this past year and had recalled like 6 players at one point from the minor league. Kassian was one of those guys. At first, he played alright. He got a goal, an assist and a fight in his first three games. But like with most rookies who haven't played in the AHL, he started to play sloppy. At times he looked like he was coasting and wasn't physically involved like we had all hoped he would. Once the Sabres got healthy, they sent him back down. It didn't last long until as the Sabres recalled him a month later. Again, he's a young player. I don't think he will be a ready made NHL player until next year or at least 2014. So, I know TSN has been going crazy about him and how he will add toughness, but we didn't really see that this year.
2. Is he close to NHL ready? How big of a gamble is it going to play him in the NHL?
I think fans have to be patient with him. There were people in Buffalo who had been begging him to come up from the minor league system and become a tough guy for almost 15 months. If the Sabres were physically outmatched in a game, people would beg for Kassian to be called up. It was ridiculous. Again, he's a young guy and realistically, it takes 2-3 years to really become an NHL player.
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3. What is his strengths/weaknesses?
He's got a big body and can hit and fight. I think his problem is he's a rookie who wasn't suppose to be playing in the NHL this year and some have said he's immature.
4. Who wins this trade in the short term/long term?
I think the Sabres do in the short term because Hodgson is more NHL ready as we speak. It is unclear about the long term because these guys just started their careers. I know you guys have a lot of offensive firepower and needed the toughness. I don't think Kassian will be able to deliver that for you guys this year, but possibly next year. I do know the Sabres biggest weakness is at center. We have our #1 center Derek Roy, who a number of people have wanted to throw out of Buffalo for years, and then we have wingers playing center. It feels like we are just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing if it sticks with our center rotation. If both guys reach their potential, I think it will be a win/win situation for both teams. I don't think we will know who wins this trade for a year or so.
6. Tell me something I don't know about Marc-Andre Gragnani.
He was a stud in the playoffs last year against the Flyers. He had 7 points in 7 games and played most of the year in the AHL. He's an offensive defenseman. However, he tends to turn the puck over a lot and is a liability in his own end. He just hasn't had a good year, but if you guys use him for the power play, I think he can be decent. Just don't count on him to be a top 5 d-man
Thanks to Joey Pinzone for answering my questions on our new acquisitions. Give his site Buffalo Wins a visit if you want to check up on our their little Hodgson in the future
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