Top Scoring Prospect Cole Cassels Suspended for 10 Games

That Cole Cassels is having a fantastic 19-year old season is old news by now to Canucks fans. Vancouver’s 3rd round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft is currently 6th in the OHL in scoring with 12 goals and 27 assists in 22 games, but he’ll be missing some significant time thanks to a suspension handed out this morning by the Ontario Hockey League.

Read past the jump for a look at Cassels’ suspension, and how this affects his chances at making a World Junior Championships team.

First and foremost, this is definitely not a 10-game suspension by NHL standards. At the same time, OHL commissioner David Branch is much more liberal in handing out lengthy suspensions than the NHL is, so a 10-game ban for something probably worth 2-4 NHL games is hardly surprising.

The OHL rationale also mentions how Owen Sound Attack defender Damir Sharipzyanov was injured on the play, however the extent of his injuries are unknown. The most detailed report I’ve seen mentions that Sharipzyanov was “dazed and bloodied” and left the game, but there hasn’t to my knowledge been an update given since then.

As for Cassels, this is likely disastrous for his chances of making a World Juniors team. As a dual citizen, Cassels was eligible to represent either Canada or the United States, but was a fringe candidate for both teams. This suspension will carry until December 28th in the OHL, and since the IIHF honours CHL suspensions, my understanding is that Cassels will be ineligible to play any games at the WJCs until December 29th as well. This means that should he be named to either the Canadian or American roster, he will be ineligible to play in either team’s first two games against either Germany, Slovakia, or Finland.

Either team can still reserve a roster spot for Cassels and ice a full lineup in each of these two games, but since each country has a wealth of good forwards, it’s probably not likely that they’ll do this for a guy that’s going to be playing a depth role. That, and Canada is still dealing with the uncertainty surrounding Connor McDavid, who they will assuredly reserve a spot for even if he has to miss the first couple of games.

This suspension is not going to influence Cassels’ career trajectory one way or another, and as a fringe guy probably wasn’t going to be named to a WJC team anyways, but both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey were interested in this player. At the end of the day, this suspension probably denies Cassels a chance at a priceless experience more than anything else.