In his second year with the Petes, Kassian finished second in scoring with 63 points (36-33-69) in 61 games, including 13 power-play goals. Known for his physical play, he also finished in the top 20 in the Ontario Hockey League with 136 penalty minutes.
Highlights of 2008-09 season included two points (1-1-2) in the OHL All-Star Classic, representing the OHL in the Canada/Russia Challenge, and being selected to the 2009 CHL Top Prospects game.
He first began playing hockey with the Kingsville Kings when he was eight and he credits his brother for having the biggest influence on his career – “he’s always there for me and tells me what I need to hear”.
His most embarrassing hockey moment was playing with two sticks at the same time on the penalty kill and his childhood hockey hero was Bobby Orr.
On his style of play: As a hockey player, I see myself as an in-your-face type banger, all-around hockey player who goes in the dirty areas and goes to the net hard to get some dirty goals as well.
On getting his start in hockey: I was actually eight years old. We lived on the lake and I always used to play pond hockey. I used to go out there for hours on end and play hockey with all the guys around the street. So that's how I knew I wanted to play it for sure. From there then I begged my mom to put me in it, and she did. From there on in, I've loved it. It's going pretty good so far.
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards
"Kassian is one of the toughest guys in the OHL and probably the entire draft. Last season as an under-ager there were overage guys in the league who would not take him on. He has not fought much this season (because) he has not had to. He is at his best when he is playing physical and tough along the boards. He protects the puck very well and fights through checks. He has very good play-making and puck-handling abilities."
Peterborough head coach Ken McRae
"Zack Kassian is a great kid that loves the game and approaches practices the same way he approaches games with hard work and intensity. (He’s a) big, tough right shot power forward with a mean streak. Very heavy shot to go along with a high skill level as well as a physical, intimidating style of play. Zack takes pride in his off-ice workouts and is a very well conditioned athlete."