Skip to content

We have a trade to announce: Canucks get Kassian, Gragnani; Sabres get Hodgson, Sulzer

Feb 27, 2012, 3:54 PM EDT

cody hodgson getty

Boring trade deadline, you say? Wrong. The Canucks and Sabres pulled off a big deal right at the buzzer – forward Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer go to Buffalo in return for forward Zach Kassian and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Hodgson, 22, is a talented center that’s in the midst of a breakout season with the Canucks (16G, 17A.) He can put the puck in the net and he can make plays. However, with Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler locking down the top two center spots, it was tough to find him the kind of quality ice time he needs.

Kassian, 21, is a big, tough power forward, i.e. the kind of player the Canucks have been looking for. He’s not the player Hodgson is today, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis is taking a big risk in that regard.

Gragnani, a 24-year-old offensive defenseman, should fit in well on a Vancouver team that uses its back end to create offense. He could be the wildcard in this deal.

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    And boom goes the dynamite….

    • kitshky - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Hate to see Cody leave …but I like, a lot.

  2. velocirapist - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    What side does Gragnani play? Did we pick up another left-side defenceman?

    • eyecorporations - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM


  3. homelanddefense - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    as a Bruins fan I applaud Vancouver for this move, its just what they needed…size and toughness up front.

  4. hsnepts - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    OK, I am not that familiar with Kassian’s game. Buffalo fans, tell us about this kid.

    • tytlynz - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Tough! What the Sabres need But Lindy doesn’t seem to be able to coach. Too many wingers here and too many centers in BC. Looks like a good trade for both teams.

  5. buffalotears - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    He’s got a mean streak, and he has a lot of talent. He was a real fan favorite these past two years. BUT, he does have some maturity issues. He had an encounter with the police for a bar fight or something like that, but he is an excited player. Some of his immaturity showed this season too. Check out this article about when he was sent back down to the AHL…

    • kitshky - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      You hope maturity is something that can be nurtured on a mature team with what looks like a pretty solid ,accountable locker room.

      I love Kassian though … 6’4 & 230lbs right handed winger with hands. And Gragnani is a stud too.

      • buffalotears - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM

        Grags has been a turnover machine most of the year. He was called up for the playoffs last year and looked real solid. Lately he has been a healthy scratch. This looks like a pretty solid trade for both teams, though. Buffalo needs a playmaking center and Hodgson was stuck behind two great centers.

      • kitshky - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        You’re goin to love Cody, not the fastest skater but there’s a reason he was voted the ‘Smartest Player’ in the AHL (not to mention Player of the Year). Moves the puck and has a monster shot.

      • kitshky - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        Ok not exactly a “stud” … but he’s sooo slick!

    • jdubs21 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      Thanks for the info. Enjoy Hodgson, he’s one heck of a talent that your getting and my unwavering Canuck support shrunk a little with this trade. Canucks have talked about insurance and depth, what happens if Kesler or Henrick get injured? There goes your high quality, high skill depth at center. This is a horrible move for the Canucks to give away a rookie of the year candidate for player that may or may not make it on the roster and sounds like he is having trouble in the AHL.

      Glad I didn’t get my Cody Hodgson jersey pressed yet, but very, very sad.

      • buffalotears - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I liked Kassian a lot. Almost all Buffalo fans though this guy was going to be our tough, goal scoring forward. But he is still very young. He definitely has the skills and physicality to be a good player.

      • elvispocomo - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:26 PM

        I think that’s what puzzles me a bit, is Kassian is younger and perhaps not quite ready to help us this year. If it had been a move in the offseason it would have made more sense. We’ll see, and I hope both are solid for us, since I know Hodgson will contribute and look dangerous in Buffalo this year.

  6. lonespeed - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    How much does it suck to go from being a 16 goal scorer on one of the teams favored to win the Stanley Cup to the Buffalo Sabres, who won’t be playing come playoff time.

  7. babar61 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    I really don’t like it…hope Kassian is worth it.

    • kitshky - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      If Kassian can keep his head together he can bring something that this teams been missing. No question that Cody’s goin to be a stud in this league but on this team, at this exact moment in time when there is only one thing that matters … there’s guys on Vancouver that can bring what Cody brings to the table, but there’s no one on this team that can bring what Kassian brings.

      Fingers crossed.

  8. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Hodgson sounded so disappointed when he was talking to the TSN guys, and understandably so. Vancouver is probably going back to the Cup finals and he’s going to be watching it on TV.

  9. jimazz17 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Kassian will be a good fit with that team and may be a year away from being a good second or third liner. Gragnani prob a d shouldn’t crack the starting line up.

    • jdubs21 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      A year or two away doesn’t help the Canucks this year. Bad trade for the Canucks who have a chance to win the cup this year.

  10. lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    @lonespeed That may be true but Hodgson should be able to get more playing time now. Kass has the ability to move between 3rd and 2nd line, depending on his play. This trade actually seems to benefit both teams pretty well.

  11. jdubs21 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Why would Mike Gillis make this trade? Absolutely stupid. Keeps talking about depth and insurance policies, yet gave away both in this trade for a player who is struggling in the AHL.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Unless you’re some sort of superstar, it’s pretty tough to crack a lineup of players like Pominville, Vanek, Roy, Stafford, Gerbe, Adam, and so on, no matter how poorly they seem to be doing at the moment. Kassian played very well in the U20 IIHF tournament last year and any team should be happy to have him. It’s his rookie year, not everyone develops the same way or at the same pace, give the kid a break. Patience is a virtue. Gillis ain’t no dummy.

  12. buffalotears - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    How about this Sulzer? Is he just an average defender?

    • jdubs21 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      Sulzer is alright as a 6th defenseman. Should improve in a couple of years, lacking big size Has been unnoticeable as a defenseman, which is both good and bad at times.

    • elvispocomo - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      I’d say he could fill in on the left side as a 2nd pairing guy, but is better as a 3rd pairing defender who can play on the PP if needed. He did well on both the right and left side here on that 3rd pairing but struggled a little in bigger minutes on the right. Good shot, plays fairly safe and uses positioning fairly well to defend, and is absolutely a team guy who’s good in the locker room. Not once did he complain or say anything but positive things here in Van despite being the 7th/8th guy and getting a limited number of games.

  13. hsnepts - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    if van was willing to part with hodgson, howson should have traded nash for hodgson and schneider. hodgson is that good.

  14. kkickflip - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    I know a lot of Vancouver fans are upset with the trade but Kassian is a good player in the making with lots of size and toughness and can really turn it up physically when he wants. He’s a dominant player in a fight and has offensive upside and talent. The world can be his if he takes it upon himself.

    I’m so happy to have Cody Hodgson but Kassian was a fan favorite here in Buffalo and he loved playing here so it’s a tough day to say goodbye. I think this trade is good for both teams and I hope it works out for us both. Good luck to you Vancouver.

  15. jimazz17 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Kassian did make some plays that showed great hockey sense. Not very reliable in def zone coverage but was getting better. Hes a real hockey player and as a fan, sad to see him go.

  16. ruddigervancity - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Yeah, I can’t really wrap my head around making this trade, at this point in the season. You can rent grit for the playoffs, and Hodgson was good insurance in the event one of Kes or Hank get hurt. Then you could have shipped Hodgson after the playoffs for a long term solution to the team’s lack of sandpaper.

  17. jimazz17 - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    As for gragnani, better hope he’s not needed. Maybe your AHL team needed depth

  18. danphipps01 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Man, I just don’t know. If he pans out, fantastic. A potential top six of Sedin-Sedin-Hansen/Kassian and Burrows-Kesler-Kassian/Hansen is pretty impressive. Big bodies, skilled scorers, two-way forwards par excellence, everything you could want, really. That said… man, Hodgson was superb. Absolutely superb. There’s just no reason he couldn’t have been playing wing on one of the top two lines himself. Yeah, fine, he’s not physical like Kassian. I get that, and I definitely appreciate what Kassian might be able to do for us there, but Hodgson’s a killer shot and a solid two-way presence with great hockey IQ. That’s a hell of a lot of potential to trade. Difference is, though Kassian’s got a lot too, he’s comparatively unproven. Hodgson’s a known safe bet now. Anyone who can pull what he does on a third line is destined for great things in future, and Kassian… well, we just don’t know. And for a win-now team like Vancouver, Kassian if anything is a step backward – rookie or no, Hodgson’s as stable as it gets. If Kassian doesn’t leap into a stable top-six position right off the bat, this weakens the Canucks’ playoff push. I hope Gillis is more confident of Kassian’s short-term development than I am.

    • jdubs21 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Well put

    • donfocker89 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      They talked about Kassian on the radio after the trade was announced here in Buffalo. They discussed the physical hitting side and Zacks lack of it this year. The big point was you either have it or you dont. Hopefully it was our coaching that held Kassian back a bit (seems to be a trend here.) I liked him when he started but he didnt seem to go hitting a lot. Damn good fighter though. In a way to compare how he will be used in Vancouver I see its like Raffi Torres. The Sabres traded for Raffi one year at the deadline and was no better than a 3rd liner. Didnt hit much but hard worker. Then Vancouver signs him and hes making hits everywhere and getting suspended. I really hope this trade works out for both teams. Seems to be good fits on both ends. Grangiani sucks though. But like i said, maybe coaching can help these kids.

  19. whatswellydoing - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Wow I love how cordial and civilized the conversation is between Buffalo and Vancouver fans here. It’s a nice change of pace; makes me want the trade to work out for both sides. Sabres fans, enjoy Hodgson; he’ll be a star someday (give him some time to develop defensively though).

    • elvispocomo - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      Yup, just goes to show you how people can actually talk about hockey and be complimentary of the players going either way, even to give good insight into those players for the fans not familiar with them. Clearly, if it’s not a hot button topic, and there’s no inciting riot (pun intended) calls from the opposing team’s fans

      • govtminion - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        This is what this site SHOULD be. It’s a pity that it turns into the mess it so often does. Many thanks to all of you for keeping this civil and (if I may?) very interesting and insightful.

      • elvispocomo - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        You may.

    • Tristan - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      “Welly’s feeling bad for CoHo today. Welly knows how tough it is for cerebral players to adjust to a whole new room.”
      I like your username.

    • kkickflip - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      I’m from Buffalo and I really like the Canucks and own have a few of their jerseys. We’re from the same year and both have great fanbases so I see no reason to be anything other than kind to their fans. They’re both great teams with good histories that should hopefully winning some cups soon.

      • Tristan - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:58 PM

        Upthumb for 1970 expansion buddies. I’ve always felt a bond with the Sabres because of that.

      • elvispocomo - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM

        I’ve had a soft for Buffalo for the same reason. It doesn’t hurt they’ve gone back to some of the best jerseys in the NHL as opposed to the banana slugs (although it does hurt about the Gilbert Perreault draft lottery) and I hope they do well, especially Cody.

  20. rabidbillsfan - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Wow, so Buffalo ships it’s 2 biggest bodies out. I mean Kassian was trade bait (Not proven, but high ceiling), but Goose? C’mon. Our top 2 penalty killers from a year ago are gone in Goose and Connolly, Goose was AMZAZING when 2 down. Also, Gooses line has been the best line over the past 3 weeks, so who takes his line? This means Luke Adam is coming back up even though he has been terrible. Maybe Goose will hit the open market and we can bring him back, epitomy of a team player.

    • donfocker89 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      The fact is with Goose is that we would most likely lose him come July. A first rounder for him? I’ll take it. Sabres arent going to make noise with a playoff push. We got great value and I believe there is a shot we re-sign him in July.

      • buffalotears - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:36 PM

        Well put. I was AMAZED they got a FIRST ROUND PICK for Paul Gaustad. He has 17 points this season. Only 7 goals. I am pleasantly surprised to say this is one hell of a move from Regier.

    • eyecorporations - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:29 PM

      I’d much rather have a 1st round pick than 20 more games with Goose. As much as we all loved him, there was realistically a very small chance of him staying next year. Keep in mind that Ennis is due for a payday and Myers’ new deal kicks in for next season which doesn’t leave much cap room.

  21. djamesbart - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    THAT’s the BIG deadline deal?

  22. taytay099 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    I’m so upset with this trade. I think Hodgson was such a great player for the Canucks. This is like losing Grabner all over again. I no longer have a young forward to be excited about on the team.

    But to be fair, I know almost nothing about Kassian or Gragnani so I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

  23. buffalomafia - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Wait everybody! The Buffalo Sabres trades Kassian who is there only true fighter for another small guy! Like the Sabres need another small player!

    Pegulla doesn’t know sh$t about hockey!

    Fire both Ruff & Regeire immediately!

  24. bmorethansteel - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Letting Hodgson go was a huge mistake. That kid is gonna shine in the NHL. Bet it now!!!

  25. captaincanuck84 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    I agree that hodgson is the better player right now. Very well could prove that throughout his career as I see him turning into a star but let’s give Kassian a chance. He is a big skilled power forward who has a chance of being a real big impact player. He helps less right now but hodgson was only getting 12 mins a game and was not gonna be more than a 3rd line centre here. We dealt out strength position for a position that needs an up and comer. Pahlsson will fill the mins of Cody and brig us a real checking line, we can’t have 3 scoring lines and a fourth checking because fourth line doesn’t eat up the minutes necessary. Could work for both teams but enjoy hodgson buffalo, you got a future all star

  26. necromerlin - Feb 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    This civility disgusts me. What happened to the good ol’ days of the ‘wheel was rigged’ and ‘we should have got Perreault.’ .:shakes fist:.

  27. jlindsay24 - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Canucks have given themselves a blackeye in this fight with Hodgson.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1902)
  2. P. Kane (1416)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1337)
  4. M. Richards (1188)
  5. M. Giordano (1167)