This is Zack Kassian. He’s got some size (6.03, 210) and some skill (63 points in 61 OHL games for the Petes) and he rocketed up the Central Scouting charts (24th at the midterms, 10th at the final bell among North American forwards) this season.
However, we know the final CSB rankings don’t count for much (Gare Joyce exposed it in his wonderful book) and the smart money has him 15-25 for this entry draft.
Except he’s one of the best Coke machine’s in the draft and I fear we’re headed for another round of big wingers with smoke stacks at the draft this summer.
Kassian is the guy who clocked top prospect John Tavares at the top prospects game, and he’s also a confident fellow: “I’m a power forward. I like to go into the corners, go to the dirty areas to score goals, set up guys; stand up for teammates.”
His coach in Peterborough (Ken McRae) says “Zack Kassian is a great kid that loves the game and approaches practices the same way he approaches games with hard work and intensity. (He’s a) big, tough right shot power forward with a mean streak. Very heavy shot to go along with a high skill level as well as a physical, intimidating style of play. Zack takes pride in his off-ice workouts and is a very well conditioned athlete.”
Notice the words “foot speed” don’t come up? It’s a Blues Clue. The Oilers during the Prendergast draft era would go for skill in round one and took the Coke Machines later on. They drafted a lot of big men between Brad Winchester and Geoff Paukovich (they’re all mentioned here) but none higher than 35. Based on Steve Tambellini’s words about where this team needs to improve, I think they might take him as a reach pick.
Which is a textbook draft for need selection and probably a mistake.