Report: Canucks still gauging interest on Zack Kassian

In a bit of news that’s surprising to absolutely no one paying attention, the Vancouver Canucks are reportedly still trying to move Zack Kassian, per TSN’s Darren Drager.

Will they finally move the big winger? What will Jim Benning get for him? We’ll have a look after the jump

It certainly seems more and more like the Canucks are simply content top move Kassian for the sole purpose of moving Kassian. If they’re actively trying to sell other teams on him, it doesn’t bode well for a potential return. Dreger elaborated about the Canucks’ efforts to move Kassian on TSN’s TradeCentre broadcast:

“I know the Canucks earlier in the day were contacting teams to see if they had any interest whatsoever. That’s a player… that’s generated at least some interest over the last couple of weeks.”

It’s become increasingly apparent this season that Willie Desjardins doesn’t trust the Big Guy, and that his future in the Canucks organization likely doesn’t extend into next season. Still, Kassian is 24 with offensive upside, and not exactly a surplus asset for the youth-strapped Canucks. Even if they’re trying to sell, Jim Benning can’t take a Kassian trade lightly, and needs to get a youthful return, which is what he seems to be focusing on, per TSN1040’s Matt Sekeres:

We also looked at trading Kassian earlier this week, and came to a similar conclusion then:

Trading Zack Kassian can make sense for the Canucks, filling needs both now and in the future, but Jim Benning has to seek a very specific type of return to make the deal worth it. While Vancouver has a surplus of non-top-3 wingers, they don’t have enough young NHL-ready forwards in the system to be able to make a Kassian trade for the sole purpose of addressing a short-term need. 
This means that, most importantly, any return on Kassian cannot be older than the age Kassian is now. Vancouver has to be looking at getting younger and aiming to compete in the future rather than the present. Why? It’s really, really simple: because their team isn’t good enough to contend this season, and the core is aging and won’t be getting better.
The challenge is that smart teams aren’t really lining up to trade really good young players, especially for a guy they know three NHL head coaches haven’t trusted. GMs don’t act irrationally, and they won’t all of a sudden be knocking on Benning’s door with fistfuls of draft picks and prospects just because Kassian has 11 points in his last 10 games. In terms of Kassian trade targets, you’re likely looking for other guys perceived in the same way as he is: defective goods in one way or another.

Kassian also seems acutely aware of the discussion surrounding him, making this comment at Canucks practice this morning:

  • Chungus

    Sounds like a pithy return coming our way for Kassian. GMs know that if the Sedins can turn Anson Carter into a 30 goal guy, they can prop Kassian up to be a 20 goal player.

    As fan who only knows what the media writes about this guy, makes no sense they want to deal him.

  • Steampuck

    That Kassian hasn’t moved means that even if he doesn’t fit in the team’s long term plans JB and management at least acknowledge he represents something of value and the right offer didn’t come up. Or he’s been so devalued by his use/misuse that nobody offered anything decent. Nevertheless—and not knowing anything more than watching him play and reading about him in the media—I’m quietly glad he’s still a Canuck. Nothing would please me more than to see him step up in the playoffs and realize some of that potential everyone’s talking about.

    When he’s on, the game seems to come very easily to him…

  • wojohowitz

    One interesting quote was; `The twins play tougher with Kassian on the ice`. I`d go one step further; `The Canucks play tougher with Kassian in uniform`.

    • Larionov18

      Agree, 100%. IIRC, it was after the Henrik goal last night, Zack was in front of the net and got shoved in the back by a Blues defender. Big Zack spun around, stared the defender down before going to celebrate the goal, he looked like he was going to go nuts on the poor kid…

      The Canucks (specifically the Sedins) play bigger when #9 is on their line. If some dude is feeling froggy and wants to pull a Marchand type douche move, the big fella is only a couple strides away…

      We’re placing way too much emphasis on things that are low on the priority list, he’s never going to be a Higgins/Burrows defensive ace, so stop expecting him to be one. I want to see him play big, defend his team mates and put up points.

  • peterl

    It makes more sense to run with Kassian for the duration of his contract and gauge his skill level in summer 2016. The Canucks still control his fate for a few more years.

    If Kassian becomes effective over that time, then the Canucks have found a possible top six forward. If it doesn’t work, Kassian could be seeing more healthy scratches and they can choose not to qualify him in the summerof 2016.

    The reason why JB should do this is because Kassian has very litle value. Kassian’s ceiling is high. The skill level is there. It just perhaps needs some more time to mature. The only reason I would make a Kassian trade at this point is if the Canucks got a similar quality of player back in return. (E.g. a CoHo…)