We continue our series about Buffalo Sabres history, with each day’s post highlighting a player to have worn the subsequent jersey number with the Buffalo Sabres. This series is not designed to say that any player is the ‘best’ to have worn that jersey number, but rather to allow fans to get a taste of the team’s history and learn more about some of the players in it.
Yesterday, we talked about Mark Pysyk, the lone Sabres player to ever wear #53. Today, we keep moving on to jersey number 54, which has also only been worn by one player in Sabres history. That player? Current NHLer – and another first-round pick of the Sabres – Zack Kassian.
The LaSalle, Ontario native was drafted by the Sabres 13th overall in 2009. He was playing with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes at the time, and would finish another two seasons in the OHL after the draft, between Peterborough and Windsor.
Kassian would join the AHL’s Portland Pirates for three playoff games in 2011 before making the full-time jump the next year. He split the 2011-12 season between the Rochester Americans and the Sabres, appearing in 30 games with the Amerks and 27 with the Sabres.
Kassian had 15 goals and 11 assists for 26 points with Rochester. He added three goals, four assists and 20 penalty minutes with the Sabres.
He had two points in his first two NHL games, notching an assist in the November 25, 2011 game against Columbus and scoring his first NHL goal the next day against Washington.
Kassian’s departure from the Sabres organization came on February 27, 2012. He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks along with Marc-Andre Gragnani, with Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer coming back the other way. He finished his Sabres tenure having played 27 games with the team, scoring seven points (3-4) and racking up 20 penalty minutes.
Kassian has been in the Canucks organization ever since. After the trade, he played 17 games with the Canucks in the 2011-12 season. He then spent the 2012-13 season with Vancouver and with their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. He also spent all of last season with the Canucks and will return for another year this October. Last season, Kassian had 14 goals and 15 assists, plus an NHL-career-high 124 penalty minutes, in 73 games.
Other players to wear #54 for the Sabres: None.