The H-Bomb has hit Vancouver
The Bad News First
Calder Trophy Candidate.
As a writer and as a fan of this team, I completely disagree with this trade. The sub-text of this trade involving Sulzer and Gragnani is irrelevant here.
How one can trade a Calder candidate is beyond me; especially for a guy who has 7 points in 27 games. Kassian has a bigger build and sure, this isn’t his fault. It’s nothing personal against young Zack.
That being said, Cody was having such a bright season with Vancouver, to trade him now shortly before the playoffs in which the Canucks will take another run at the Stanley Cup, is baffling to me.
I shall be following his career with eyes wide open and if you’re asking me, the 2012 NHL Rookie of the year will be Buffalo Sabres’ Cody Hodgson.
The Kassian Trade
As Ray Ferraro put it on TSN’s Tradecentre, the Canucks are getting a, “raging bull.”
While Zack Kassian should help the Canucks out in the physical department, he does have quite the mean streak.
A whack of suspensions have been laid on the young man from Kingsville, Ontario. The 21 year old was handed a 2 game suspension for a hit to the head of a Czech player.
In addition, he was handed a 20 game suspension by the OHL for a 2010 hit to a Barrie Colts player.
To top that off, he was suspended 4 games for an intent to injure match penalty in an OHL game vs. Owen Sound.
Overall though, Kassian will be that toughness the Canucks have been looking for while being disciplined. Kassian only has 20 PIM’s in 27 games this season including the Sabres’ most recent game on February 25th.
The Other Guys
There was a second part to this trade which saw the Canucks send D-man Alex Sulzer to the Sabres while receiving Marc-Andre Gragnani.
Sulzer was a #8 D-man here in Vancouver and saw hardly any game time this season. Gragnani is an upgrade on defense having played 44 games while earning 12 points (1G, 11A).
I would expect the native of Montreal could readily fill in for Aaron Rome or Andrew Alberts in the 5/6 spot on D.
That is my new nickname for Andrew Gordon, whom the Canucks picked up from Anaheim for Chicago Wolves player Sebastien Erixon.
Gordon has played 37 games with the Ducks this season at Right Wing but likely won’t fit in anywhere in the Canucks starting lineup. Just the fact that he has played in the NHL this season, not to mention in 3 previous seasons with Washington, is a plus.
Gordon is a -10 with the Ducks this season while collecting 5 points, but most guys on Anaheim are having sub-par seasons so don’t read too much into that.
Should the Canucks suffer any injuries on forward heading towards the playoffs, Gordon could be a good call-up to fill in on the 3rd or 4th line.
While Sami Pahlsson has never notched more than 26 points in one NHL regular season, he has been on the winning side of a championship on multiple occasions.
Confidence and a “been there-done that,” attitude is key.
He also won Silver Medals at the 2004 World Championships and the 1996 World Juniors.
Oh, did I mention he won a Stanley Cup in 2007 with Anaheim? That experience is invaluable on a team where the majority of guys haven’t won hockey’s holy grail; even though they’ve been to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Pahlsson made it 6 centers in the bottom 6 for Vancouver before Hodgson was traded (FML) but with Cody gone (FML again), Sami should slot in nicely on the 3rd or 4th line and mentor guys like Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond.
In the Pahlsson Trade, the Canucks sent two 4th Round picks to Columbus in addition to prospect Taylor Ellington.
The Victoria born defenseman has played 55 games with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings and 1 game with the AHL Chicago Wolves this season. He had 22 points (7G, 15A) with the Wings.
Giving up Ellington to the Blue Jackets isn’t that big a deal. The Canucks are deep on D and Ellington wasn’t even the next up on the depth chart for a call up. Kevin Connauton is that guy.
ALL IN ALL…the Canucks are tougher and have more depth at every position (F & D); not counting goaltending.
While the loss of Cody Hodgson will be hard to bear for many a Canuck fan, including myself, hopefully the Canucks will be better off for it in the future.
But I doubt it. Stanley Cup or not this year, we should’ve kept CoHo.
Oh, look who the Canucks play Saturday.