NHL

Agent: Sabres resume talks with rookie first-rounder Kassian

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The Associated Press
9/27/2010 2:16:01 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Sabres have resumed talks with rookie forward Zack Kassian, leading his agent to express hope that Buffalo's 2009 first-round draft pick could have a deal as soon as this week.

Paul Krepelka told The Associated Press by phone Monday that talks resumed last week for the first time since the Sabres suspended negotiations after Kassian was charged with assault for allegedly punching a man at a bar in his hometown of Windsor, Ontario, in May.

The Sabres, who play a pre-season game at Toronto later Monday, were not immediately available for comment. In announcing he was putting talks on hold in June, general manager Darcy Regier said he remained open to signing Kassian, as long as he didn't get into more trouble and learned from what happened.

Should they sign Kassian, the Sabres have the option of either keeping the 19-year-old on their roster or returning him to Windsor.

Krepelka said his client "has done everything he's supposed to do" to learn from the incident, and has impressed the Sabres both on and off the ice since arriving for the start of their rookie training camp two weeks ago.

Kassian has expressed his regret over what happened to both the Sabres and the media.

Drafted 13th overall, the six-foot-three, 215-pound Kassian is a hard-hitting forward who made a solid impression in Buffalo's pre-season-opening 3-1 win over Toronto on Saturday.

Kassian opened the game by bowling over Toronto's Christian Hanson. And after setting up Tyler Ennis' goal midway through the second period, Kassian forced a turnover that led to Rob Niedermayer scoring 1:47 later to put Buffalo ahead 3-0.

Krepelka said Monday that Kassian is close to reaching an out-of-court settlement involving the assault charge.

A message with Kassian's Windsor-based lawyer, Pat Ducharme, was not immediately returned.

According to a police report, a uniformed officer working at the downtown bar was drawn to a shouting match, where he saw a 20-year-old man bleeding from the mouth in the early hours of May 30. Kassian was identified as the person who struck the man, who chipped a tooth but didn't required medical treatment.

Weeks earlier, Kassian had helped the Ontario Hockey League Windsor Spitfires to win the Memorial Cup.

On Monday, the Sabres also announced 2010 first-round draft pick defenceman Mark Pysyk was one of nine players returned to their Canadian junior teams. Also sent to the juniors were forwards Corey Fienhage, Kevin Sundher, Steven Shipley, Gregg Sutch, Cedrick Henley and Riley Boychuk, and defencemen Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Matt MacKenzie.

The Sabres also released goalie Zane Kalemba from his amateur tryout, leaving the team with 49 players on their roster.

Zack Kassian (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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