Well this saga is over

Well, we finally got our “blockbuster” as Cody Hodgson is being sent to Buffalo in exchange for Zack Kassian who is on his way to Vancouver. Also flipping squads are Marc-Andre Gragnani and Alexander Sulzer. Interestingly, it may Gragnani that tips this trade in favor of Vancouver.

The Sami Pahlsson trade to Vancouver now makes a hell of a lot more sense for Vancouver as they seem a lot less backlogged down the middle with the departure of Hodgson. You free up a lot more minutes for Pahlsson by moving Hodgson and reap a lot of the benefits I laid out in the corresponding post – namely, they’re a much more tough to play against, two-way team.

By acquiring Kassian, the Canucks shore up an immediate need that is constantly harped on when we break down their roster. It’s tempting to say that they’re just not tough enough and it will catch up with them over the course of a playoff series, much like it did against Boston in the Cup Finals last season. In many ways the Canucks have picked up their own Milan Lucic in Zack Kassian as that is the immediate comparison I draw in my mind between Kassian and any active player in the NHL. He brings some serious tenacity to their wing, makes them even harder to play against and has plenty of upside going forward from an offensive perspective. I’m a very big fan.

The player I really like in all of this trading is Gragnani who emerged as a very solid offensive defenseman during Buffalo’s playoff series against Philadelphia. Had the Sabres not gone out and signed Christian Ehrhoff – how’d that work out? – Gragnani would have been their go-to power play quarterback and puck moving defenseman. I think the Canucks got a real steal in MAG.

Going back to Buffalo is Cody Hodgson. He won’t be sticking around in Vancouver after finally appearing to have it figured out. Luckily for Hodgson, he may finally have an opportunity to fully live up to his offensive potential as he wasn’t getting anything more than third line minutes in Vancouver and that wasn’t going to change any time soon. Rather, in Buffalo he’ll likely be put in the top two lines right away and have a chance to play with the likes of Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy. If you think you can get a hold of Cody Hodgson in your fantasy leagues, do it. He could be poised to REALLY break out as the talent and minutes around him are poised to grow.

In Sulzer, Buffalo acquires your run of the mill depth defenseman – a bigger stay at home guy who could slide into the six or seven spot – though he’ll have to edge out Buffalo’s defensive prospects T.J. Brennan and Brayden McNabb to really earn his spot. Buffalo is putting a lot of stock in Hodgson working out with this trade because as far as Sulzer goes, you’re not getting much of anything.

That’s my take on the deal at least. Who do you gang think won the deal? Comment, #BShelf, Facebook.

Don’t forget to check out theScore’s trade tracker here and the Backhand Shelf livestream here.