In perhaps the most surprising deal on trade deadline day, the Vancouver Canucks acquired forward Zack Kassian from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for rookie forward Cody Hodgson.
The two teams also swapped blueliners, with Marc-Andre Gragnani heading to Vancouver and Alexander Sulzer going to Buffalo.
The 6-3, 214-pound Kassian will provide much needed size and toughness to the Canucks. The 13th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has scored three goals and four assists in 27 games with the Sabres this season, though his offence is not what the Canucks brought him in for.
I like to be physical, but at the same time I like to make plays and chip in offensively. I like sticking up for teammates. I like playing the physical game, and just trying to be an all-around player.
Kassian told TSN that he did not expect to be traded.
I’m shocked, was not expecting this at all.
Still, Ksssian says that he’s excited about playing for a Stanley Cup contender. Gragnani expressed the same sentiments.
Gragnani, who had a strong showing for the Sabres in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, is a puck moving defenseman who will provide some much needed depth for what the Canucks hope will be a long playoff run.
Sportsnet hockey analyst Brad May says that Gragnani could be the key to the deal because of his showing on the postseason and the skill set he provides.
Gragnani will become a restricted free agent, according to TSN. He currently earns $550,000.
In Hodgson, the Sabres get a player that can provide some much needed secondary scoring. The former 10th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft has scored 16 goals and 17 assists in 63 games with the Canucks this season.
The 22-year-old told TSN shortly after the trade that he was very surprised to be moved as it looked like he was finding his game in Vancouver.
I’m still in shock right now. My phone is blowing up and I don’t know what to think. I’m still trying to think about it and put everything together.
The 27-year-old Sulzer has one assist in 12 games with the Canucks.