Born: October 28, 1986 (age 23)
6 ft 05
Career Transactions: Selected by Minnesota in the second round (57th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Signed a 2-year contract to stay in the Wild system this off-season.
I don’t think it’s fair to say that Kevin Constantine had a favorite player. He appreciated some players more than others, but as long as the guys worked their asses off, as long as they worked on their games, did everything they could make their games better, did everything they could to make the team better, then Constantine liked them.
Matt Kassian fits that definition to a key. Kassian set career highs last year with 6 points (2+4=6) last season, and probably nobody was happier than Constantine because this was proof of Kassian’s work ethic. The guy was willing himself to be a better hockey player, to be something besides the team bruiser.
Mike Yeo is going to like Matt Kassian, just like Constantine liked Kassian, just like his teammates like him, and just like those of in the press box like him. Kassian’s a friendly guy, but he’s a worker. He’s not the most graceful guy, nor the most gifted of skaters. But it’s doubtful that anyone on the team’s going to work harder. And if anybody starts messing around with one of his teammates, then they're going to have to deal with Kassian because while he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, Kassian's not afraid or shy about playing the protector/enforcer when the need arises.
And not that it matters, but in my opinion, Yeo’s not going to have a nicer guy on the team. Kassian’s always ready to a joke or a friendly greeting. He’s a great guy to know, and from what I can tell, he’s a hell of a teammate.