These were my thoughts as the NHL Trade Deadline coverage got rolling this morning. Gaustad and Roy had both been involved in the rumors, so no huge surprise when that broke. The return was surprising, even with the 4th rounder going the other way, but still, we knew he was the sort of guy playoff teams love to add at the deadline. You know, that intangible-laden 3rd-liner, to win face-offs and ‘battles’ and all that other stuff pundits like to say. When the official deadline was passing, though, people were disappointed. “That’s it?” you heard. Then you started to hear “Vancouver has another deal yet to come”, and then “They’re getting Kassian”. We all sat up and took notice, and then when we heard Cody Hodgson was the guy coming back…wow. That’s a great return, giving up Kassian and Gragnani, and getting Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer. I love these deals.
As I was thinking about these since they went down, I decided this is basically a win-win-win for the teams involved. Buffalo is a win both for now – Hodgson has more offensive upside than Goose, and is a lot younger – and in the future, getting Nashville’s first rounder next year in addition to the players from Vancouver. Nashville gets the vet C that teams love for the playoffs, and Vancouver gets a couple of guys that might fit better on their team than ours. Kassian needs to prove himself in the NHL, and Gragnani might work best for the Canucks where he can just be a power play QB and get the softest minutes otherwise.
I’m genuinely interested in seeing what Hodgson can do for Buffalo. I’m sorry to see Gaustad go, as I had hopes for him…but it was pretty obvious that what he is now, is all he’ll ever be. And if you turn Goose and a 4th into a 1st, you do it. Gragnani was expendable…McNabb, and soon, other D-men in Rochester were pushing him from below, but he couldn’t move up any higher than 7th on the depth chart when everyone is healthy. And all of this happened without crippling the Sabres’ cap situation any more than it already is. Good job, Darcy. Is it Wednesday yet?