Hodgson/Kassian Swap Stupefies Vancouver/Buffalo Press

At this stage, Regier can’t be trusted to lead the Sabres in the right direction. Any move Monday should be greeted with suspicion because there’s a good chance he’ll make the wrong one. Anyway, there aren’t enough players available who can rescue this team after so many listless efforts and so many losses.

The damage is done.

Oops. Remember, this is the 1st full season of Regier/Pegula. GM’s can be defined by their owners, or at least by the constraints of their owners’ wallets. This is no longer the Golisano/Regier Era, and the future performance of Darcy should not be judged as such. Pegula/Regier is an entirely different animal.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Hodgson’s ability was clear, as was the impact of his loss to the Canucks. Or was it? From an Elliot Pap column in the Vancouver Sun, from yesterday:

Here’s the first thought that came to mind when word came down the Canucks had dealt 2008 first-round pick Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for 2009 first-round pick Zack Kassian: Is this Markus Naslund and Alek Stojanov all over again, only in reverse?

In 1996, former Canucks GM Pat Quinn acquired Naslund from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Naslund was a skill forward, not terribly big, and a first-round pick who was chaffing with his playing opportunities behind the likes of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

Stojanov, like Kassian, was huge (6-4, 230), had a mean streak and was considered more than pure cement. He had butted heads with Eric Lindros in junior and was expected to do that again in the NHL against not only Lindros, but all the large players of the day. He was also a first-round pick. In fact, he went nine spots ahead of Naslund in the 1991 entry draft. (Stojanov was the seventh overall pick, Naslund the 16th.)

We probably don’t need to tell you how Naslund-Stojanov turned out. Naslund struggled for a couple of seasons in Vancouver before blossoming into the best left-winger in the NHL, an Art Ross runner-up, a Ted Lindsay award winner, long-team team captain and the Canucks’ all-time leading scorer. Naslund’s No. 19 Canuck jersey was raised to the rafters last season.

Stojanov, meanwhile, was plagued with shoulder problems and played just 45 games as a Penguin, scoring two goals. Naslund scored 346 for the Canucks in 884 games. That trade is widely regarded as one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history.

…In any case, all trades take time to shake out.

How will we look back on Hodgson-Kassian in five years? Hopefully for long-suffering Canuck fans, it will be a positive one.

The comparison to the Naslund/Stojanov trade is a fun read but is, at best, just more guarded speculation. Although it does hint at the offense Hodgson will bring to Buffalo, it actually defines nothing concrete.

f0adb0aac69980e272ccbe8233c5417d.124.88 Hodgson/Kassian Swap Stupefies Vancouver/Buffalo Press

Sports analysis should not be fence sitting, no matter how cute it reads.

Meanwhile, Iain MacIntye of the Sun had this to offer up:

We don’t know how good Cody Hodgson might have become for the Vancouver Canucks.

We know he can score, but we don’t know how much. Will he be merely good or great? Is his offensive ceiling 60 points or 90? Would he have developed into a leader, a captain? Could he have helped the Canucks win a Stanley Cup?

And the problem with judging this stunning trade is we probably would never have known how good Hodgson could be in Vancouver because he was stuck behind centres Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler and was not going to get the minutes to be a star here.

…It will be years before Hodgson or Kassian becomes whatever it is they’re going to be in the NHL.

Years? He is already 3rd on the Sabres in goals, tied for 6th in assists, and 4th in points. Heck, he’s a Calder candidate – was the rookie of the month in January, and is second in goals scored for all rooks.

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