The Hodgson Deal
The trading of Cody Hodgson probably won’t go down well with a lot of fans, but I’m giving Mike Gillis props here. Gillis probably hasn’t made the team any better for this year, but I don’t think their chances are any worse either.
I’ve said several times that Cody Hodgson – like Cory Schneider – was going to have to be traded because Vancouver does not have a suitable job for him now and they won’t have a suitable job for him over the next several years. The challenge, I thought, would be to make a good trade. How do you get any real value when you can’t take salary back in the deal? The only type of deal that makes sense is to trade Hodgson for a young, promising player who is a better fit. That isn’t an easy trade to make.
Elliot Pap is quite correct when he says that this trade looks like the Naslund-Stojanov deal with the Canucks on the wrong end of it. Unfortunately, this can’t be helped. (And the fact that Kassian is superficially a similar type as Stojanov is a meaningless coincidence.) If Cody Hodgson is going to become a Naslund quality player, it will be somewhere else. It could not be in Vancouver any more than Naslund could get the ice time to become Naslund in Pittsburgh.
This deal is not really a deadline deal. It is a hockey trade. (One of the most interesting things about this year’s stupidly overhyped trading season is the number of actual hockey trades made. Carter was a hockey trade. Gilbert for Schultz. Even Aulie for Ashton.) Gillis thinks he is getting value for Hodgson now and we won’t find out whether he’s right for several years. Still I credit him for pulling the trigger as soon as he could find somebody willing to swap a young, promising player for him, particularly when the deal is sure to be unpopular at least initially.
In the meantime, I don’t think the Canucks are any worse today, even if Kassian can’t contribute much. They are bigger, faster, and better defensively and I think that’s enough to offset the offense Hodgson contributed. (Mind you, I have an inordinate fondness for Sami Pahlsson so I can’t believe adding him to the lineup can possibly hurt a hockey team very much.)
Postscript: For what it is worth, I’m still not entirely sold on Hodgson. I love his shot and his offensive instincts. His footspeed and defense, not so much. He’ll score enough to be a good player, but I don’t think Vancouver traded away a Markus Naslund.