The Vancouver Canucks have signed yet another Dan Milstein client.
The Canucks already have Ilya Mikheyev, Andrei Kuzmenko, Vitali Kravtsov, Danila Klimovich, and Kirill Kudryavtsev from Milstein's client list. Now they've added college free agent Max Sasson, who signed a two-year, entry-level contract on Sunday morning.
Sasson also signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Abbotsford Canucks, allowing him to join the AHL team to finish off the season.
"We are very pleased to have agreed to terms with Max today and we are excited to have him join Abbotsford in time for their playoff push," said Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin in a press release. "He is coming off a very strong year with Western Michigan and has shown continual improvement in his game each of the last few seasons. We look forward to watching him develop at the professional level with our staff in Vancouver and Abbotsford."
Sasson was the first-line centre for Western Michigan University this past season between talented wingers Jason Polin and Ryan McCallister. Sasson finished third in scoring on Western Michigan behind his wingers, tallying 15 goals and 42 points in 38 games. That was good enough to tie for 14th in the nation in scoring.
Offence isn't necessarily the strength of Sasson's game, however.
"Sasson can make plays but he’s not a natural scorer with a ton of skill," said Corey Pronman in his profile of the top undrafted free agents. "He’s a strong skater, and unusually quick for a college free-agent target, especially given he’s not small which will make him quite attractive to NHL clubs. He works hard enough with his feet to potentially play a lower role on a team."
The hope for Sasson, then, is that he can become a bottom-six centre for the Canucks in the future. With his speed, decent size at 6'1", and detailed defensive game, he has that potential.
"Sasson's game is all about instincts, puck support, and feel," reads his scouting report from Elite Prospects. "He's the ultimate play connector. A conduit that helps turn defence into offence, often allowing his line to sequence offensive zone possessions into scoring plays. It often seems like Sasson is always in the right place at the right time."
At 22 years old, Sasson still has some room for further development. By spending the last few weeks of the AHL season in Abbotsford, he'll get a chance to immerse himself in the Canucks' system and learn what he'll need to do in the offseason to earn a spot with the Canucks at training camp.
If Sasson can be a bottom-six centre for the Canucks on an entry-level contract, that would be a great result. It's perhaps more likely that he spends next season in the AHL further developing his game, but the Canucks badly need centre depth, so he can still fill an important role.
Sasson is also a confident young man with very little fear. That is aptly demonstrated by the time he was called upon to fill in for the anthem singer ahead of a game for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders in the USHL. The team called upon Sasson to fill in, even though he's not the best singer in the world and he was going to be playing in the game.
"They asked me to do it, so I said, 'Why not?'" said Sasson. "It was a big game for us and the coach thought it would help loosen the boys up and I think it did because we ended up winning."
There's a player who will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means risking looking foolish.