In a deal announced prior to Windsor's Sunday game against Sarnia, the defending Memorial Cup champion Spitfires have acquired Zack Kassian in a deadline deal with Peterborough. In return, the Petes will receive 2010 draft prospect Austin Watson and a pair of future second round picks.
In what has been at times a challenging season for 2009 first-rounder, Kassian, 18, leaves behind the Petes captaincy in pursuit of a fresh start in his hometown with the current #1 overall team the CHL Mastercard Rankings.
The trade is a major deal in the development of the future power forward. Landing back in Windsor for the balance of the year will free him up mentally to simply execute without the worries of wearing the "C" and being the team's main offensive cog. In 33 games to date, Kassian has collected eight goals and 27 points. Those numbers should increase exponentially in a lineup that already includes 2010 top guns Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler, along with Team Canada members Ryan Ellis (NSH), Adam Henrique (NJ), and Greg Nemisz (CAL), and five other NHL draft picks.
A side nugget to this deal is that both Kassian and the Sabres should have an excellent rapport with Windsor's coaching staff. Head Coach Bob Boughner played in Buffalo with current Sabres amateur scout Yuri Khymlev, while Kassian was a forward on Canada's U18 gold medal winner coached by Boughner at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial last April.