Vancouver Buffalo, Buffalo Vancouver. Expansion cousins and they definitely take the cake this year at Trade Deadline!
Kassian, Hodgson, Buffalo, Vancouver, Vancouver Buffalo?!?!
Hello Everyone!! How are you? Few days off and a friend suggested I use this moment for a "Great Moment in the 2011-12 season." My friend being probably the biggest Buffalo fan in Vancouver and possibly the biggest Buffalo fan ever I couldn't not talk about it. The Buffalo Sabers and the Vancouver Canucks stole the show at trade deadline in what was shaping up to be a rather slow day went out with a bang. Trading hockey players is like trading hockey cards. We have all seen guy friends of ours talk about trading hockey cards and who they got. While trading NHL players is the exact same thing. You don't always trade goalie for goalie but rather value for value and are you letting go of something your club can live without and gaining something your club is missing. Teams can trade how ever many times and how ever many players they want during the season up until the deadline at the end of February. After that it is set and nothing happens till after the Stanley Cup playoffs end. A trade involves getting players you want but also taking on contracts (number of years on the contract and how much the player is getting paid) it all goes toward a cap. A hockey club can only spend so much money. If they go over, they get a fine. You are on a budget of $100 buying groceries for the week, NHL teams have to build a hockey club of 23 players for 70.2 million a year. They also have to spend at least 54.2 million or they get fined. So when you hear the term "cap space" that is what they are talking about. Enough about what trading is let's talk about who got traded!!
Zach Kassian at practice in Van City
The dealine for trading this year was 3:00pm on the west. I believe there had been about 15 trades done and nothing really stirred the pot until TSN announced there was one more trade in the works and they would keep viewers updated. Then they announced the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks were talking. It was then announced that Zach Kassian was now a Vancouver Canuck but they didn't announce who was leaving Vancouver. Vancouver wanted to know, who is Zach Kassian? Zach fit the bill for everything Vancouver wanted. Vancouver wanted a physical power forward, Zach is 6'3", 214 pounds and from Windsor, Ontario. Do I need to say anything more? Drafted in 2009 13th overall by Buffalo, Zach played 27 games with Buffalo before getting on a flight to Vancouver. The youngest of 4 children and growing up without his Dad after he passed away from a heart attack when Zach was 8. Zach has that edge, nothing to lose personality plus boat loads of skill and talent he is beyond fun to watch on the ice. Somewhat of what I call a vintage hockey player Zach can often be found without his fake tooth in, which is a true hockey smile. The trade also included Montreal native Marc-Andre Gragnani. The defenceman was drafted in 2005 by Buffalo. Gragnani spent most of his time going between the NHL and AHL. He played in 14 games for the Canucks in the regular season.
Buffalo's #19 Cody Hodgson!
Then about 15 minutes after people found out Kassian was now a Canuck they learned Cody Hodgson was a Sabre. Wow, wow, wow. Fans in Vancouver heart's sank. The rookie sensation with his ups and downs for the last few years was gone. Cody was drafted 10th overall in 2008. The Toronto, Ontario native who stands 6'0" and weights 185 pounds and his right hand shot were off to the east coast. After Vancouver had time to let it sink in, the trade made perfect sense. Cody didn't break into the NHL the year he was drafted. He played for the Manitoba Moose and was a call up for 8 games in the 2010-2011 season. In 2011-12 season he got a permanent spot on the Canucks roster. The 3rd line center although very good at what he does what almost to pretty so to speak to be in that spot. With Henrik Sedin manning the center position on the 1st line for Vancouver and Ryan Kesler on the 2nd line what Vancouver needed was a physical, dirty player for the 3rd line. Vancouver had picked up Samuel Pahlsson earlier in the day who was a veteran player and happened to be a center. With faceoff hot shot Manny Mahlorta able to play on the 3rd or 4th line or having Max Lapierre able to center the 4th line the "grinders" were manning the bottom 1/2 of the front end. Where did Cody fit? Now you get the picture. Cody fit right into the perfect spot with the Buffalo Sabres. Cody would get more ice time, be able to move up the ranks faster (not waiting for H. Sedin or Kesler to retire) and would be a very valuable asset to a team who is looking at a great Stanley Cup run in the next 5 years or so. It wasn't that Cody was doing poorly with the Canucks he had scored 16 goals and 17 assists in 63 games, 2 of which were against big bad Timmy Thomas of the Boston Bruins!! Cody scored 3 goals and assisted 5 in 20 games with the Sabers. Cody actually played 83 games last season! Teams play 82 but Buffalo's schedule meant Cody had to lace up for an extra. While Vancouver got Gragnani in the trade, Buffalo got Alex Sulzer. The handsome German only got to play 12 games with the Canucks and only registered 1 assist. His hard work and talent was getting pushed to the sidelines with the stacked back end the Canucks were building. With the trade to Buffalo Sulzer played 15 games and scored 3 goals and assisted 5 others. Sulzer also got to play along side German Olympic teammate and former Canuck Christian Ehrhoff. It was a match made in hockey heaven. In the end with this wild wacky trade between expansion cousins (the Vancouver Canucks and the Buffalo Sabers both joined the NHL in 1970) both teams got what they were looking for. Vancouver got some talent and toughness and Buffalo got some talent and gracefulness. And that is just another great moment in the 2011-2012 season and quite the ending to the 2012 Trade Deadline!! Enjoy video of Hodgson and Kassian scoring for former teams and current teams and Gragnani and Sulzer scoring as well. Enjoy X
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