Coho returns home from the Pacific Ocean

And I’m not talking about the spawning habits of BC salmon.

Although that does make a great metaphor – Coho heads off to the Pacific Ocean, then has to struggle, swimming upstream to return to the place of his birth… Ontario?

Cody Hodgson was definitely not Untouchable at today's trade deadline.

Buffalo is close enough to Toronto, right?

Mike Gillis traded his first draft pick as the General Manager of the Canucks, sending Cody Hodgson to their expansion cousins, the Buffalo Sabres. In return, the Canucks receive Zack Kassian – a former first round pick himself.

It is no secret that this writer loves him some Coho, and I was saddened to hear the news of Hodgson being traded at the deadline today. I’m certain that I will write a future post praising Zack Kassian for his play in the future, but in the meantime, I’d like to take a little time to remember Coho as a Canuck.

Alright, he got off to a rocky start with a misdiagnosed back problem. But once the back problems were behind him (pun intended), he started showing us flashes of his skill last season. And throughout this season, more of the same flashes of skill. I wrote earlier this season:

#Coho4Calder – You heard it here first

It’s clear that Cody Hodgson is feeling better after misdiagnosed back problems, and he seems to be going at full speed. He was the First Star at Rogers Arena last night, and was excellent in all phases of the game for a center. I was lucky enough to meet Cody with my kids at Rogers Arena earlier this season, and he seems like a great guy. It’s nice to see him take advantage of some real ice time this season, and even nicer to see him enjoying himself out there. Sure, he might not be as sexy of a Calder vote as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but the kid has skills. Hodgson happens to play on the Canucks, who are loaded with top end depth, and he wasn’t drafted first overall, so he doesn’t see as much of the rookie hype as The Nuge. There is no denying that Cody has great hands, and excellent hockey sense. To be continued!

In terms of scoring touch, it seemed that Hodgson was not only blessed with good hands, but with ample amounts of clutch. I’m still working on the scientific formula for clutch, but it seemed to me that Hodgson scored in some big games this season. How about this beauty, in possibly the most anticipated game this season? This goal turned out to be the eventual game winner.

Zack Kassian has some scoring ability, and actually won a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2010. What Canucks fans will take issue with is his spotty behaviour in the past. In 2010, he was suspended for 20 games for a hit to the head of another junior level player. And after the Memorial Cup win, in June of 2010, Kassian was arrested and charged after being in a bar fight.

Maybe I’ve lived a bit of a sheltered life, but who in this day and age gets into a bar fight? Is Zack Kassian the next Patrick Kane cabbie joke waiting to happen? Or will he leave it all in the past and live up to his first round pedigree?

I will tell you this much:
Cody Hodgson got 12 minutes of ice time each game, relegated to 3rd and 4th line duty, with 2nd unit power play time. Zack Kassian will probably get 10 minutes of ice each game. Even if he does have some talent left in those heavy hands, I don’t think we’ll see much of those skills with the ice time that Coach Vigneault gives to rookies.

One more thing.
It is no secret that the Canucks got beat up in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. What was lost in that series with all of the Seidenberg crosschecks to the back, and the Marchand sucker punches (I still don’t know how he is able to reach other player’s faces), was that the Canucks couldn’t score. The vaunted Canucks offence scored 8 times in 7 games. With that type of offensive output, it is surprising that the Canucks made it to Game 7, where they were shut out. In the 3 games that they did win, Luongo pitched 2 shutouts to secure those victories. The Canucks are a bigger team this year than last year. So if the Canucks need to be able to score and weather some physical play, was trading secondary scoring skill for raw toughness a good idea?

Time will tell.

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  1. tantalum says

    The thrid line center in lat years final, LaPierre, had 2Goals and 1 assist in the final. You aren’t going to get better third line production from the third line than that. A 0.5 PPG rookie is not going to produce at near that rate in the playoffs…especially when he needs to be protected.

    It wasn’t a lack of scoring depth that killed the canucks. The scoring depth got some goals. The top 6 didn’t.

    • says

      thanks for the comment – i appreciate it!

      i hear what you’re saying, but who’s to say where the goals should come from? so far Hodgson’s got 16G so far, and his rate is increasing. maybe 20G by the end of the season. I don’t expect anyone else in the bottom 6 to come up with that type of production. i’m just saying it’s not bad to have a guy that can put the puck in the net at that rate, with limited ice time.

  2. pizzaman10 says

    how can anyone possibly like this trade? Coho would have 35 goals by now if he’d played keslers icetime. i had him rated as the best center after sedin.Kesler is best suied as a 3rd liner. It is my opinion that kassian (read goon) will not be here after a couple of years while Coho will be one of the premier centers in the entire league. i would like to share Mg’s opinion on this transaction but i cant get my head that far up my butt no matter how hard i try.

    • says

      thanks for the comment – i appreciate it!

      i don’t think Kassian is a total goon, the kid has to have some skills in order to play for Team Canada at the WJHC. but it is a big risk to trade away what you know (and what i love haha) for something that hasn’t been quantified. MG hasn’t led us too far astray, so i’m hoping this turns out to be a good deal for the Canucks. despite my love for Coho, i think truthfully both teams get something they can use. it just doesn’t make sense to me if they think Kassian is going to make them immediately better, or put the Canucks over the top. that’s the beauty of trades though! =)

  3. pizzaman10 says

    i’d forgot to add on my last post that i consider this a worse trade than the cam neely fiasco which almost lost me as a fan. I hope cody scores 5 goals on saturday when we play buffalo. I have been a canuck fan for 55 years( not all NHL) Ihave now switched my alliegence to the oilers.

    • says

      … i kinda hope Coho has a big night against the Canucks too. mind you, so long as the Canucks still win! wait … you didn’t like what Barry Pederson brought to the Canucks? :)

  4. Chris W says


    With 24 hours to think on this trade my verdict is this: Hodgson was indeed prime trade material. Third line centre that should really be a second liner on any other team, but the Canucks are too deep down the middle. At 13 minutes a game, Hodgson’s point production is remarkable and he’s only going to get better, much better I should think, in the years to come.

    So my issue with this trade is not losing Hodgson as one of the most promising players in the league, but what they got for him. Kassian is less proven at the NHL level and has a history of “issues” as you noted above. He has size for sure which may come in handy in the playoffs but let’s face it, there’s no way on the third line he will produce anything near Hodgson’s point totals in the near term. I suppose you could argue that the Canucks clearly won out on the second players in this trade, but the Canucks are plenty deep at defence already and the addition of Gragnani won’t make a material difference this year.

    Time will tell of course and it’ll be three years before we can really evaluate this trade. Gillis has balls for making this move. Let’s hope it pans out and all the best to Cody in Buffalo.

    • says

      hi Chris! thanks for the comment – i appreciate it.

      one thing that bugs me about this deal is that we can see Hodgson will be good. we really don’t know if Kassian will be able to prove himself as a regular guy in the league. maybe he’ll be like Lucic or Neely, but not with the ice time they’re projecting for him on the 3rd and 4th lines. so now they have a guy that is a big body, but with less of a touch around the net.

      and the other thing that bugs me is that this is the 2nd time the Canucks have dealt a young prospect, after they dealt Grabner, Bernier and a 1st round pick, for Ballard and Oreskovich a couple seasons ago. in that deal, they traded “the future” for defense and size. well, Ballard is on the shelf, and Oreo sure doesn’t play like his size would indicate. Now they’ve traded Coho for Kassian.

      we should revisit this in a few years time and see the aftermath (or if either player turned out to be as good as we hoped!)

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