|Born||January 24, 1991 |
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)|
|NHL Draft||13th overall, 2009|
Selected 13th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he began his career within the Buffalo Sabres organization before being traded to the Canucks in 2012, his first year in the NHL.
During Zack's junior career, he won a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2010.
Internationally, he competed with Canada's under-20 team at the 2011 World Junior Championships and won a silver medal.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, Zach plays in the style of a power forward and is known for playing with aggression and physicality.
Junior Playing Career
After a season of AAA midget with the Windsor Jr. Spitfires, Zack debuted at the major junior level with the Peterborough Petes in 2007–08.
On September 20, 2007 (playing in his first career OHL game), he recorded two assists against the Sudbury Wolves on September 20, 2007.
On October 11, 2007, Zack scored his first OHL goal against the Erie Otters.
He went on to score 9 goals and 21 points over 58 games as a rookie. The following season, he improved to 24 goals and 63 points over 61 games.
Zack also had a team-leading 136 penalty minutes and earned a reputation as a willing fighter with 13 fighting majors. That season, he was chosen to play in three All-Star exhibitions.
Near the beginning of the campaign, he represented Team OHL in two games against a select team of Russian juniors as part of the annual Subway Super Series.
He later dressed for the Eastern Conference in the OHL All-Star Classic and scored a goal and an assist.
Lastly, Zack competed in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Game for Team Cherry, a contest in which he injured John Tavares with a hit.
Leading up to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Zack was ranked 10th among eligible prospects playing in North America (not including goaltenders) by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB).
Chris Edwards of the CSB heralded Zack as "one of the toughest guys in the OHL and probably the entire draft" while also highlighting his "play-making and puck-handling abilities."
He went on to be selected in the first round, 13th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in the draft.
In September of 2009, Zack went on to attend his first NHL training camp and was returned to Peterborough to continue at the junior level.
Back with the Petes, he was chosen to replace the departed Zach Harnden as team captain after Harnden starting playing with the Kingston Frontenacs.
Thirty-three games into his 2009–10 OHL season, Zack was traded to the Windsor Spitfires. Prior to the trade, he had been suspended one game by his team for breaking curfew.
Shortly after joining Windsor, Zack was given a 20-game suspension from the league for his hit to the head of Barrie Colts forward Matt Kennedy during a game in January of 2010.
Limited to 38 games between Peterborough and Windsor due to the ban, Zack totalled 12 goals and 31 points.
Returning from the suspension in time for the 2010 playoffs, he added 7 goals and 16 points over 19 games to help Windsor to a J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL champions.
The win qualified Windsor for the 2010 Memorial Cup, Canada's national major junior championship, which they won as well.
Defeating the Brandon Wheat Kings in the final 9–1, Zack had a goal and an assist in the championship-winning game.
Following the Memorial Cup win, Zack was arrested after an altercation at a bar in Downtown Windsor on May 30, 2010. Charged with assault, he reached an agreement several months later, in October 2010.
The charge was dropped in exchange for 25 hours of community service, a $500 donation to charity and payment for the victim's dental work.
Had he been convicted, Zack would have been ineligible to cross the border into the United States which would have conflicted with his hockey career.
In September of 2010, Zack returned to the Sabres' training camp. While he was sent back to junior for the second straight year, he remained on the team's pre-season roster as one of the final cuts in October.
A month after being returned to Windsor, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres on November 2, 2010.
Playing his first full season with Windsor, Zack recorded a junior career-high 26 goals and 77 points over 56 games.
His points total ranked second in team-scoring, behind captain Ryan Ellis' 100. Then he added 16 points (6 goals and 10 assists) over 16 OHL playoff games, tying for fifth in team scoring.
During Game 4 of the Conference Finals against the Owen Sound Attack, Zack received a match penalty for a hit on opposing defenceman Jesse Blacker which was ruled as "intent to injure."
Following the contest, the penalty was supplemented with an additional three-game suspension, sidelining him for the remainder of the series.
Out of the lineup for Game 5, Zack only needed to serve half of the total suspension as the Attack eliminated the Spitfires four-games-to-one.
With Zack's junior season over, he was assigned by the Sabres to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Portland Pirates, for their Calder Cup playoffs on April 29, 2011.
The following night, he made his AHL debut in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division Finals against the Binghamton Senators.
Appearing in his first three professional-level games, Zack recorded nine shots on goal without any points as Portland was eliminated in six games.
Though eligible for a fifth season of junior as a potential overager, he turned professional with the Sabres organization for the 2011–12 season.
Zack was initially assigned to the Sabres' new minor league affiliate, the Rochester Americans, out of training camp and began the season in the AHL. On November 24, 2011, he was recalled by Buffalo.
Making his NHL debut the following night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Zack recorded his first NHL point, assisting on a Jordan Leopold goal.
Playing on back-to-back nights, Zack then scored his first NHL goal the following game against goaltender Tomas Vokoun in a home game against the Washington Capitals.
Zack remained with the Sabres for a month-and-a-half in his initial NHL stint before being re-assigned to Rochester.
Later in the season, he earned two more call-ups in January and February 2012 respectively.
On February 27, 2012 (during his third call-up & minutes before the NHL trade deadline), Zack was dealt (along with defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani) to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for fellow rookie Cody Hodgson and defenceman Alexander Sulzer.
Canucks general manager, Mike Gillis, acknowledged the trade as an effort to balance his team out by giving up Hodgson's skill and finesse in return for Kassian's size and toughness.
Analysts from The Sports Network and The Vancouver Sun also echoed the sentiment, commenting that while the Canucks gained elements in Zack that were required to succeed in the playoffs, Hodgson's skill set reflected the style of play that Vancouver's success was based upon.
In a telephone interview with Andrew Greven of The Sports Network shortly after the trade, Zack said he was surprised at the trade, but was excited to play for a Stanley Cup-contending team.
The reaction in the Vancouver media was largely of surprise that Gillis would trade away a well-performing rookie for one that was unproven at the NHL level.
The Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre declared it "a stunner" and "one of the most unpopular trades in Vancouver in years."
Another Sun article likened the deal to a lopsided 1996 trade between the Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins in which two first-round prospects of opposite playing styles (the skilled Markus Naslund and the larger, more aggressive Alek Stojanov) were exchanged.
Zack made his Canucks debut the night after the trade, registering a shot on goal and 12 minutes and 27 seconds of ice time in a 2–1 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Zack scored a goal and an assist, his first of each with the Canucks, in a game against the Sabres on March 3, 2012 his third game with the Canucks.
The following game against the Dallas Stars, Zack was called to take a penalty shot 24 seconds after the opening faceoff which made it the second-fastest penalty shot to be called in NHL history (after Maurice Richard took a penalty shot 12 seconds into a game against the Chicago Blackhawks).
He missed against goaltender Richard Bachman while attempting a backhand deke.
On July 3, 2014, Zack signed a two-year contract extension with the Canucks worth $3.5 million.
On July 1, 2015, Zack and a 5th-round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Brandon Prust.
On October 4th, 2015, he was involved in an accident on a non-practice day, suffering a broken nose and fractured left foot. He was then suspended without pay and sent to the NHL's substance abuse program.
Regular season and playoffs
|2006–07||Windsor Jr. Spitfires||AH||57||32||48||80||136||—||—||—||—||—|
|Competitor for Canada|
|World Junior Championships|
|Competitor for Template:Country data Ontario Ontario|
|World U-17 Hockey Challenge|
Zack made his international debut with Hockey Canada at the 2008 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, competing for Team Ontario.
He recorded two goals and six points over six games as Ontario won the gold medal.
The following year, he moved on to the under-18 level with Canada at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships.
With two goals and five points over six games, Zack helped Canada to a fourth-place finish.
Two years later, he joined Canada's under-20 team for the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York.
During the tournament, Zack received a two-game suspension for a hit against Czech defenceman Petr Senkerik, making contact with Senkerik's chin with his shoulder.
Zack returned for the medal round and helped Canada to the gold medal game where they lost 5-3 to Russia. He finished the tournament with two goals and an assist over five games.
Zack was born to Mike and Shirley Kassian. He has two older sisters and an older brother named Mike Jr.
Zack's father passed away when he was 8 years old. He has recalled his father's role as having been filled by his older brother (who was 19 years old at the time) while he grew up.
Zack began playing organized hockey when he was 8 years old with the Kingsville Kings.
Growing up, Zack was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan even though he has listed his favorite players as Boston Bruins defenceman Bobby Orr and Todd Bertuzzi, a fellow power forward who was starring with the Vancouver Canucks during his youth.