Canucks trade fan favourite Hodgson
But big Zack Kassian moving to Vancouver
HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
|The Canucks traded away centre Cody Hodgson to the Sabres for big forward Zach Kassian. (Amber Bracken/QMI Agency)
VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks took until just after the NHL trade deadline at noon to make the biggest splash of the day.
The NHL's top team traded rookie Cody Hodgson and defenceman Alex Sulzer to the Buffalo Sabres Monday for forward Zack Kassian and defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani.
Kassian, a six-foot-three, 214-pound right winger, was the 13th overall pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft. He played 27 games this season, scoring three goals and adding four assists.
"I was not expecting this at all," Kassian told TSN. "I'm excited to go contend for a Cup now. It's going to be a lot of fun."
The hulking forward brings with him some reputation, having been suspended 20 games in the OHL in 2010 for a head hit and another four games in 2011 for intent to injury. He was also charged with assault in May 2010 for an altercation in Windsor, Ontario. The charges were dropped.
Having gotten his first shot in the NHL this season with Buffalo, Kassian hopes to now make a positive impact on the Canucks.
"I know they have a deep lineup, that's no secret," the 21-year-old told Sportsnet. "They have a good chance to go all the way. I just want to work hard in practice and earn my spot."
Meanwhile, the other piece in the last-minute trade, 24-year-old Gragnani, has 12 points in 44 games with the Sabres. The six-foot-two blueliner was a third round pick in 2005 by the Sabres.
Earlier in the morning, the Canucks also acquired centre Samuel Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets for two fourth-round draft picks.
"It's not been fun the last few years, we haven't won a lot of games," Pahlsson said. "I've come to a really good team that's got a chance to win it."
Vancouver rounded out their busy day with a minor deal, sending defenceman Sebastien Erixon to the Anaheim Ducks for right winger Andrew Gordon.