Feb 272012
 

The Vancouver Canucks have traded centre Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer to the Buffalo Sabres for right-winger Zack Kassian and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Alright, so let the depression soak in. In 3… 2… 1…

What the Canucks traded: There’s no questioning who the better player was in this deal, and that was Cody Hodgson. At every level of hockey he’s played at, Hodgson has enjoyed success. When he was drafted 10th overall in 2008, TSN’s Bob McKenzie had nothing but terrific things to say about Hodgson. The Canucks were, at the time, getting the heir apparent to a retiring Trevor Linden. Hodgson only exponentially increased the hype when his World Junior performance in 2009 saw him lead the tournament and scoring.

The back problems and alleged rift between Hodgson and the organization ensued. But time heals all wounds, and Hodgson this year was truly coming into his own. On several occasions this season, Hodgson was the best Canuck forward on the ice, scoring clutch goals and making smart passes in the offensive zone. He is well on his way to becoming the two-way leader that most people envisioned him to be, capping out at a point-per-game if he reaches his potential.

Alex Sulzer was a minor piece in the deal and an expendable one at that. He has a booming shot but rarely ever used it. His defensive shortcomings were noticeable.

What the Canucks received: In Zack Kassian, the Canucks received a player who essentially has all the makings of becoming the second coming of Milan Lucic. Kassian has been a high-scoring threat at the OHL level when he’s not on the sidelines serving a suspension. Kassian was a part of that loaded Windsor Spitfires team that steamrolled its way to the Memorial Cup in 2011, putting up 77 points in 56 regular season games. He’s also been a part of Team Canada at the world juniors in 2011.

In Gragnani, the Canucks are getting a mobile defenseman who reminds me a little bit of Christian Ehrhoff. Gragnani has all the makings of a smooth-skating puck-moving defenceman, but also has some defensive shortcomings, which are natural at his young age. Last year, Gragnani was anointed the AHL’s most outstanding defenceman and led Sabres blueliners in scoring during the playoffs. The potential for Gragnani is there and he immediately becomes their most NHL-ready defenceman.

More analysis and video coming your way shortly…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SSGLOU22HVIHJMNF7I4WWR7JBU Ray I

    Kind of nice to have such a good team that you have no room for a guy like Cody Hodgson.  Sure as hell beats being a Leafs fan. I’m sad to see Cody leave but stoked to see Kassian (and to a lesser degree Gragnani) arrive.  Hodgson may be the better offensive player but Kassian has the potential to be a real fan favourite in Vancouver.

    No-one holds the crystal ball…let’s wait and see.

  • Waynetyea

    this is gonna haunt them for 20 years cory will beat them as much as joe sakic and boby hull and wayne g…. and the big guy is gonna break records in the penulty box as a matter of fact he wont be able to look at anyone without getting 2 mins in the box

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-LeBlanc/546630301 Josh LeBlanc

    Can anyone tell me who the hell our 2nd Power Play unit center is going to be now?

    Or why at the deadline we are gambling on a damned big question mark in Kassian? He has 7 points playing with Leno in 27 games. He’s going to come here play on a defensive 3rd line and get more points? Not going to cut it in the playoffs.

    I’m tired of hearing that we aren’t going have to worry about guys taking liberties with the Sedins anymore. Is he going to defend him from the bench? Cause he’s never going to be on the ice at the same time as the Sedins.

    Next Lucic? I doubt it. Was he able to stop, or get retribution on the REAL LUCIC for taking out Miller…. Nope.

    I don’t care that he’s lighting up the AHL, that’s the AHL, not the NHL. Krog lit up the NHL and didn’t do a thing in the NHL.

    Keep hearing that we were deep in Center. Well we picked up another center (not saying the Pahlson trade is bad). Who’s to say Hodgson couldn’t shift to the wing.

    We need to get bigger. Maybe, but only where it counts, and the 3rd line isn’t where it counts. If it was, we would have just kept Torres, he hits hard, more often, and lights the lamp far more than Kassian.

    Only way the Nucks are going to protect the Sedins is from the Blue Line. This idea that 3rd and 4th liners are going to protect them while never being on the ice at the same time is a fantasy game where everyone is on the ice at the same time, all the time.

    Hodgson was producing with limited minutes, and usually at clutch times in big games. Kassians NHL resume is only 27 games long, playing in good situations, and hasn’t done much with it.

    It isn’t enough to just be big, tough, and able to skate.

    Also, can people seriously sit there and tell me with a straight face that right NOW, Kassian is a better player that Hodgson? Is Kassian going to push us over the hump to a cup? Cause for this year, that would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad that people believe that. Maybe in a couple years he will round out to be a decent player, and I do hope he does. Is THIS trade deadline really the best time to take a trade-down gamble on a project guy? Moves/Risks like that should be taken in the off-season.

    Bottom Line:
    We traded away a prized producing rookie to try and solve a problem with a completely unproven question mark. Created a new problem in the process, bringing me back up to the start of my rant. “WHO IS GOING TO BE THE 2ND POWER PLAY UNIT CENTER!” And we did this at the trade deadline.

    Up until now I have always considered Gillis to be a patient and rational man. Immune to the itchy trade trigger finger, EA fantasy game playing, irrational group of fans.

    But this deal has Panic and Hype written all over it, and it reeks of Neely.

  • Dominic

    The mistake the Canucks made (by the coach) was not asking Kesler to move over to the wing and let Hodgson be the second line centre & see what happens. Kesler puts his head down and drives to the net, uses the defence man as a screen and unleashes his shot -similar to Ovechkin. But Kesler does not really know where his players are on the ice & sometimes ties himself into a knot and paints himself into the corner. Hodgson should be his centre and dictate the play with his cerebral approach; let Cody carry the puck and use Kesler to his advantage. Cody could make better use of Kesler than Kesler makes use of Raymond. Kesler would be the ideal power forward on the wing with Cody getting second line minutes. The second point is that Hodgson should also be kept for the same reason that Schneider was kept – to be insurance if Luongo goes down or screws up and, in the former case, be the insurance if Kesler gets hurt. If Cody had to be traded why not do it in the summer after we have see the results of the playoffs? Kassian has potential but if he plays on the fourth line and 6 minutes a game then that’s lame.  Why didn’t they trade Cody and Mason Raymond for Nash. Oh well, why bother thinking about it?. The deal is done and we’ll see what happens. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.mountfort Bob Mountfort

     You’ve got to be kidding us. Hodgson is a gem. In his performances this year he has lived up to all of the expectations. This is a trade Gillies will regret along with most Canucks fans world wide. Shame on you.

  • Roger Ma81

    Can anyone say  Cam Neely?  We just got “Stojanoved”.

  • scorpio

    Why do visions of the Naslund/Stoyanov trade enter my mind? Hope I’m wrong.

  • Paul

    I really hate seeing Hodgson go. I thought it would be Raymond. But I think Gillis is thinking these new additions are going to be important for putting the pieces in place for a successful Stanley Cup run.

  • Paul

    I really hate seeing Hodgson go. I thought it would be Raymond. But I think Gillis is thinking these new additions are going to be important for putting the pieces in place for a successful Stanley Cup run.

  • Christine

    We have a new powerful forward – we needed that – I like it.  Best of luck to Cody Hodgson, you will be missed. 

  • Kevinstewart8892

    yeah..i am only 8 years old, true canuck fan,  and i am watching canucks hockey games all times with my family, and this is a huge mistake to trade hodgson. all we need is a good goalie like schneider.. but not luongo. he can get pay  and sit there  watching the game and learn , and we will win the stanley cup, hahahahahaha

  • kassian…

     just what we needed……..

  • Sjoly99

    To many skilled players on the team. I can see Gillis`s thinking. Look ahead to how hard it is to perform in playoffs with just skilled players. It is a good deal for the Canucks. How nice would it be if Raymond broke for the net on one of his skateing adventures. If that happened along the way to and through the playoffs, Cody would soon be forgotten. Fred

  • CanuckFan

    Are you actually a fan of hockey…?

  • CanuckFan

    Lol… yeah because hodgson is the best player currently. Kassian will not be in the minors… He will be on a line with kesler and booth to make that one of the most dominating lines in the NHL

    Sure loosing hodgson sucks because he was a great player but there was no room on our team for him.

    And does anyone forgot about GRAGNANI!!!?!?!? He is now our best young NHL ready defensemen!! he is an RFA and will command at most $2 per year. He is a better Christian Ehrhoff….

  • Grahamkehoe10

    pp1 sedin sedin burrows
    pp2 raymond kesler booth

  • Dka67

    Like what was said – Hodgson is a top 6 forward, but the Canucks are too strong in the top 6 for Hodgson to ever crack a spot. I agree player for player, Hodgson is the more talentd forward, but Kassian brings an element that the Canucks were missing. So, now the Canucks have great goaltending (and we managed to keep Schneids for the playoffs), great depth at D, with also adding Gragnani, plus we’ll also have Ballard back for the playoffs – very gifted offensive players (Sedins, Kesler, Booth, etc) , and now a lot more toughness than last years SCF team (Kassian, Bitz, Weise, Duco)  I think we’ll be happy about adding Kassian when we face Nashville or Chicago or San Jose in the playoffs. Hodgson will be a great player in Buffalo and I wish him the best, unfortunate he won’t get a Cup this year.

  • Dka67

    And some are saying we lost our clutch player. No we didn’t, those clutch guys are Burrows, Kesler and Bieksa.

  • Mike Davis

    Sabres fan here. Just wanted to check out your site to see what everyone thinks about this trade. It looks to me like the quite a few of you are upset about Hodgson, so I guess that is encouraging for us. We don’t get to see may Canucks games out this way with th exception of the Finals last year. I just hate Boston with a passion.
    This trade came as much of a shock to us as it did to you guys. I loved watching Kassian play this year and everyone in Buffalo has been more than excited about the guy. To tell you the truth he was one of the most exciting parts of a team that hasn’t shown much excitement at all this year. Yes, hes young and in no way proven yet. But just wait until you see him out there. He plays with the intensity and adrenaline of a wild beast. I still remember the game when they first brought him up, the kid is all excitement, hard hitting and explosive energy. Not to mention pulling off a sick move to end up winning the shootout for us. This kid is going to be good. You will see it the first time that you see him play. After that, you will fall in love with the kid, just as we all have in Western New York.
    They make it sound like these trades were separate. Hodgson for Kassian, and Sulzer for Gragnani. I do not believe for a second that Darcy Regier would of traded his best up and coming Defensemen for Sulzer who has been up and down from the minors for the last decade. This was a package deal. You guys got two players that are both going to be very exciting, for Hodgson and a back-up defensemen that will only play if our other guys get injured.
    I think both organizations will benefit greatly from this trade, but I am still trying to stomach giving away such an exciting player that plays with this type of intensity.
    I just hope that Hodgson turns out to be as good as everyone on this site says he is going to be. Good luck on your run for the Cup this year!

  • Longin Albu

    Can’t say I like the trade, but time will tell. I do have a feeling Hodgson will be missed as we traded a superstar in training for a prospect and a shut down center which had one really good season and that was years ago… I think we always needed more clutch players and this will come back and bite us in the ass, especially if we don’t make it to the cup.

  • Anomicbomb

    Hilarious! You were arguing with an eight year old!

  • Anomicbomb

    Hilarious! You were arguing with an eight year old!

  • Anomicbomb

    Hilarious! You were arguing with an eight year old!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OC3YHHMNJ6H6U7KDDKULF7GOK4 Shawn

    @ Mike Davis – Hodgson is great in my opinion. Really a quiet leader type with great skills. I don’t think he’s the fastest player out there but the kid has skills. 

    I don’t know anything about Kassian except for some not so good ‘highlights’ of him giving some headshots and serving suspensions. So I have no idea how he will fit in. It sounds like if he keeps out of the box and that stuff he could really good. 

    Glad to hear you hate Boston too. haha. 

  • Guest

    At least Hodgson will get the ice time and experience needed to become the player all Canucks fans know he will be playing in the top six for Buffalo. Will miss him, but is no place for him behind Kes and Hank.

  • paul

    Unbelievable ! we traded Cody Hodgson?  I wish him well in Buffalo and I hope they give him tons of ice time for him to showcase his talent, he’s going to be a darn good hockey player in the future, no doubt about that.  On the other hand, the Canucks do need a bit more toughness during the playoff, you never know, we might play against those fricken Bruins again.

  • paul

    Unbelievable ! we traded Cody Hodgson?  I wish him well in Buffalo and I hope they give him tons of ice time for him to showcase his talent, he’s going to be a darn good hockey player in the future, no doubt about that.  On the other hand, the Canucks do need a bit more toughness during the playoff, you never know, we might play against those fricken Bruins again.

  • Paul

    This actually could be the Cam Neely / Pederson trade all over again except it could go to our favor this time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isagani-Mercado/798243913 Isagani Mercado

    Only time will tell which team benefits the most for this trade. As hockey fan, you can just wish both kids all the luck. It seems that either will be missed by their former team and fans, a testament of their work attitude and passion for the game.

  • Dan

    Hey Mike, thanks for taking the time to post! Hodgson is going to be a stellar player for sure, but even before reading your post from someone who has seen him play, I was pretty pumped about the potential upside to Kassian, hopefully he finds a fit here keeps developing into a special player. And Gragnani seems to be a forgotten piece to this deal, with all things pointing to him being a young player to watch.

    Hopefully the trade works wonder both ways.
    Cheers

  • Canadiac

    You will love Hodgson.  No worries!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesthwilliams James Thomas Williams

    Mike Davis you will not be dissapointed with Hodgson, he plays hard every shift, he isn’t a hard hitting power forward however he has one hell of a shot is a good passer and strong two way player. The only stike against him is his skating which has improved drastically from last year. He has mediocre speed (which means if you skated with him he would look like he wasn’t even trying even though there would be nothing you could do to keep up with him)by NHL standards but it should improve as he has dedicated himself to working hard on his skating in the off-season. Also he is the kind of guy you want to see succeed, he is almost giddy every time he plays he just loves hockey.  

  • Canadiac

    Whenever you get your head out of your ass (which is going to be a while because it’s pretty far in there), you’ll see that you’re an idiot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesthwilliams James Thomas Williams

    I have seen this statement about Kassian’s lack of work ethic from many Canucks fans, but I haven’t seen anything about this from any reliable source. How about a source with your statement next time instead of just ragging on a guy who hasn’t even played one game for the Canucks yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesthwilliams James Thomas Williams

    I have seen this statement about Kassian’s lack of work ethic from many Canucks fans, but I haven’t seen anything about this from any reliable source. How about a source with your statement next time instead of just ragging on a guy who hasn’t even played one game for the Canucks yet.

  • Ian

    You sir are dumb, you know absolutely nothing about hockey and your grammar is terrible for an 8 year old. Also luongo is far from the reason we lost last year and most of the teams in the league would love to have him between the pipes.

  • Ian

    You sir are dumb, you know absolutely nothing about hockey and your grammar is terrible for an 8 year old. Also luongo is far from the reason we lost last year and most of the teams in the league would love to have him between the pipes.

  • Disqus

     I am dumber now, for having read that thread.

  • Kevinstewart8892

    you are a fool and  dumb, every body knows last year we didn’t won the SCF coz luongo’s problem, if most teams wants him, we should  let him go…and get another young goalie like schneider…

  • Breakfast of Idiots

    At the end of the season Mike G is gonna look like a genius or a total idiot. Sure hope none of our top three scorers goes down with an injury cause we would really miss Cody!

  • Jimmyw27

    you are too much bull shit,  your IQ not even close to 8 year old, he is 100%  right

  • Purple pie

    Canucks  lose today ! and I think if Cody Hodgson is playing canucks will  won the game!!

  • Buckmin

    Great post, I had a curiosity as to what Buffalo fans had thought of Kassian so far

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  • Drew P

    I am born and raised in Buffalo. I have been a Sabres fan from the get go. The Sabres and Canucks joined the NHL the same year. Since then the Canucks have been my second favorite team. I am a Kassian fan and sad to see him go. The good news is he went to the Canucks so I will still root for him, I know alot of Canuck fans are sad to see COHO go, but you will be glad he was replaced by Kassian. Zack is a hard working player who gives his all evert time he steps on the ice, you will fall in love with him very fast. Good luck and I hope to see a Sabres-Canucks Stanley Cup Finals soon.

  • Jordan

    Give it a chance, Gillis isn’t an idiot.  Both of these players are relatively unproven and have tremendous up sides

  • Drew P

    What are you smoking? Kassian is the total opposite of what you are saying. Stop smoking Crack and Meth and stick to the weed, MORON

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