The key to enjoying life as a Habs fan with Zack Kassian in the lineup is to not expect him to be Rick Tocchet or even Mike McPhee. He’s a better, occasionally more physical version of Benoit Pouliot.
Big talented forwards with good hands, drafted high, inconsistent, infuriatingly uninvolved sometimes. You sour on them not because they’re the worst player on your team, but because you think they could be so much more.
That’s it in a nutshell. Anything over and above that expectation is not guaranteed. Potential shmotential. Zack isn’t Brendan Gallagher, he’s not Chris Nilan, he’s not Max Pacioretty. He’s not the anti-Lucic Buffalo hoped he’d be. He’s a talented guy with size who sometimes is unfocused and struggles to get results. Alert Gaston Therrien.
Instead of piling on him after a couple of pre-season games, let him get his bearings, maybe get caught up in the excitement, and get pulled along in the wake of P.K. and Max and David and Gally. His floor in terms of production is 12 goals, with 20 as a ceiling if everything falls in place. The ceiling he had as a draftee is unrealistic, write that off.
This ain’t no surprise, or disappointment. We knew this about him the moment we traded for him. Instead of thinking of him as a failed Clarke Gillies, think of him as the steal we got, along with a treasured fifth-rounder, for Brandon Prust’s expiring contract with a high cap hit.
If RDS set their sights on him so early, they’ll have a tough time with him. Reduce your expectations. Agony is born of desire. Accept the Universe, endure its weight. Take the good, bank the incremental gains.
Now all of you get off his back, get off Jarred’s back while you’re at it, and accentuate the positive instead of picking at warts ’till they bleed.