After being reinstated by the NHLPA yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens elected to place Zack Kassian on waivers. With the issues he has faced recently, many were wondering if a team would take a flyer on him, and pick him up. That didn't happen, and now he has cleared and was sent down to the St. John's IceCaps.
Kassian clears— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 16, 2015
Kassian clears waivers, assigned to the IceCaps. #Habs— Heather Engel (@engelheather) December 16, 2015
Many will say this is proof that the Canadiens never want Kassian to play a game for them again, but I think it is way too premature to say that. Kassian obviously has had issues he has, and will continue to deal with. He also needs to get back into game shape. A conditioning stint would have put a timeline on all of this, which may have been counterproductive.
By sending him down right away, he can work through it at his own pace. I see this much more like a Michael Bournival situation than a Alexander Semin one. And by sending him down before having played a game - like Bournival - it increases the unknown when teams think about placing a claim, thus decreasing the chances of a claim.
I feel this is a thought out decision by the Canadiens for what's right for the team and what's right for Kassian. I still wouldn't be surprised to see him in a Canadiens uniform at some point this season.
With him in St. John's, only $800,000 of his $1.75 million cap hit will apply allowing for a little more flexibility while he is in the American Hockey League.