Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres Offseason Update: Negotiations on Hold with Zack Kassian

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 26:  Zack Kassian puts on his new Buffalo Sabres sweater after he was selected #13 overall by the Sabres during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Matthew HoganAnalyst IJune 9, 2010

Another turn has been taken in the Zack Kassian saga.

Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced on Tuesday that the team would postpone contract negotiations with the 13th overall pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft.

Kassian was charged with assault late last week after his involvement in a fight at a Windsor bar on May 30 .

“It’s obviously not something we condone,” Regier told The Buffalo News on Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate. I happen to believe Zack’s a good kid.

"He just put himself in a position that going forward you can’t put yourself in those types of positions. It’s a learning process.”

While Buffalo has by no means given up on the youngster, Regier has not given a date as to when contract talks will resume.

“We were in negotiations,” Regier said in HSBC Arena. “We felt it was appropriate to stop negotiations at that time.”

The 19-year-old Kassian is fresh off his first Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. He finished with seven goals and 16 points in 19 playoff games, and also had 38 penalty minutes.

His run-in with the law was not the first negative incident to put Kassian in the spotlight with the Windsor Spitfires.

Back in January, Kassian received a 20-game suspension for an open-ice headshot on Matt Kennedy of the Barrie Colts.

“We’re going to continue to work with him,” Regier continued. “I told him that on one hand there’s no way we’re going to abandon him, we’re going to help him, but he’s got some work to do on the other hand.

"He’s had three things over the course of the year that have all been opportunities to learn, and he really needs to. The critical issue is that he learns from them and that we help him learn from them.”

It is important for the Sabres to make sure that Kassian transforms into a more responsible player, one who can help mold the team into a winner for years to come.

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