When I heard the news that Cody Hodgson had been traded, I can’t say I was genuinely shocked; disappointed would be more accurate. After patiently waiting as a fan for Hodgson to work his way through a back injury and a lack of ice time, this season saw the reward for that patience and perhaps a glimpse at the player the Canucks gave up today.
The depth on the Canucks had a lot to do with this trade. With Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler ahead of him, it was unlikely Hodgson would move up the depth chart in the near future. That depth issue alone could have been the fuel behind today’s move, but with a fan base that has seen few of its draft picks over the years really blossom into stars, you can excuse Canucks nation for being a little sad and somewhat skeptical today.
Zack Kassian may well prove to be a player himself. The 21 year old winger is big and strong but still finding his way in the NHL. He certainly adds some toughness to the lineup, but at the expense of Cody Hodgson’s offence, which isn’t expected to be countered by the addition of Samuel Pahlsson, a 34 year old defensive specialist. The Canucks may have been pushed around by the Bruins in last year’s finals, but they also had a problem scoring goals.
There is talk on the airwaves and online, speculation if you will, that Cody Hodgson or his representatives may have requested a deal. The Canucks of course are saying they don’t comment on internal matters, while Hodgson seemed genuinely stunned by the deal itself, besides expressing that it would be nice to be playing closer to home.
The jury is out on whether this was a good trade for the Canucks. Former Canucks coach Marc Crawford liked the deal saying that the Canucks addressed a need with the deal.
“Cody Hodgson is a better skill player than the skill player they brought back, but they need to be a playoff-style team,” Crawford said. “They’re going to have to play in very physical games in the playoffs. You need players like Samuel Pahlsson and Zack Kassian.”
Others, like Craig Button, thought the Canucks strayed from what makes them successful and pointed to a consistent cup contender in his reasoning.
“I’m not going to call the Vancouver Canucks losers, but when you have one series against the Boston Bruins (albeit an important one) continually in your mind and now you’re making moves based on that, I don’t like those types of moves. While Kassian is a big, strong winger, I think Hodgson is too good. The Detroit Red Wings never give up on their identity which is skill and competitiveness and Hodgson brings that,” Button said.
Hodgson’s progression with the Canucks was slowed by a back misdiagnosed back injury and his relationship with the team got odd to a bit of a rocky start. But it seemed as though all of that was behind both sides, and Hodgson was becoming the player the Canucks had hoped they had drafted. His name hadn’t really been mentioned in trade rumours leading up to the deadline.
So now Canucks fans sit and wait again, hoping that Zack Kassian develops into the player the Canucks think he can be for them.
They’ll also hope that the trade of offence for defence today will help them accomplish what they came within a game from doing last year.