Kassian eyes scoring title

Among the developing stories in all of junior hockey this season is the maturation of Buffalo Sabres 2009 draft pick, Zack Kassian. Some will say transformation, but I disagree. I won't sit here and claim that anyone thought he'd be a 100-point guy before leaving juniors, but the player that he's becoming and the way he's getting his points is what the Sabres envisioned when selecting a kid with 61 points and 13 fighting majors in his draft year.

Jim Parker of the Windsor Star is on the story with some solid analysis:

Kassian the fighter has dropped the gloves just three times this season and has been replaced by Kassian the scorer.

He has points in 21 of 24 games this season.

Eleven of those games have produced multi-point efforts, including five games with four points.

"I think the people who knew me growing up knew I had some skill," said Kassian, a Windsor Minor Hockey Association product.

He's now tied for fourth in league scoring with 46 points in 24 games heading into Thursday's game against the Sault Greyhoiunds at the WFCU Centre (7 p.m., Ca. 11, live blog at windsorstar.com).

And his 31 assists place him third in the league and just three points behind league scoring leader Shane Prince of Ottawa, who has played five more games.

"Zack Kassian is an elite passer," Jones said. "He's not on the radar in the league as far as an elite passer. He's got elite vision and with his strength he's able to protect the puck and keep his head on and swivel.

Kassian is on pace for 81 assists and 121 points, which would better the numbers put up by Taylor Hall last season when he shared the league's scoring title.

The Star article has some good quotes, so be sure to click and read the whole run. The goals Kassian refers to can be seen below.

(tap on the pads to anonymous commenter for clippage)

So....does anyone want to guess who's not going to Portland next year?
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