I’ve thought about this long and hard since I heard of the 2 trades that Buffalo has made. After some careful consideration, and looking at all of the stats, I’m not entirely sold on the deals that Buffalo has made. I’ll break it down to the two trades that were made today.
Gaustad to Nashville
We all accepted this. I’m actually shocked that the Sabres managed to get a 1st round draft pick for this. I think this is actually the highlight deal of the day. By making this move, Buffalo can build for the future. All I heard all day was how the price for Gaustad was too high, and that teams weren’t willing to pay it. Turns out Nashville could. However, what comes next is actually rather sad...
Kassian and Gragnani to Vancouver for Cody Hodgson and Sulzer
First, I’ve been screaming for Gragnani to be gone all year. Glad he’s out of here. In comes Sulzer, who doesn’t really have a lot of NHL time. He’s been passed around from Nashville to Florida to Vancouver, and now to us. Fan-freaking-tastic. He has yet to play a full season in the NHL. It seems to me that the return for Gragnani was Sulzer. I expect him to take up Gragnani’s nightly spot in the press box.
Then comes the brilliant Kassian trade. I’ve been a fan of Kassian for awhile, and have liked what he’s done in Buffalo. However, he hasn’t delivered, and he is a pretty strong prospect. I honestly think he’ll do pretty well in Vancouver.
What’s Buffalo gotten in return?
Hodgson is a good center when one looks at his stats (based on 1 season in the NHL). Also, look at the team around him. He’s playing with Ryan Kessler, the Sedins, and Alexandre Burrows. The Canucks are a strong offensive team. However, for being a 3rd line center, 16 goals isn’t too bad.
That’s not the problem. I actually like Hodgson’s stats, and I think he will help jump start some of the forwards.
Here’s my overall issue with these two deals.
Forget Gragnani, don’t really care that much about that one. Gaustad leaves, 6’5”, enforcer. Kassian leaves, 6’3”, another big body who is good and isn’t afraid to go hard into the corners.
In comes Hodgson, 6’0”. My concern is the size. Buffalo is the whipping boy in NHL. They are viewed as soft, a lot of teams seem to think that they can push the Sabres around in the physicality department, and we just traded away 2 of our big guns. If Buffalo was going to pull in a forward, I’d like to pull in someone who can at least be a little more aggressive. I don’t know about Hodgson’s game. I haven’t seen it. It doesn’t look like he takes a lot of penalties. However, Buffalo needs a little more size.
Again, I hope that I’m wrong. I really do. I hope Hodgson comes into Buffalo and tears it up. However, Buffalo is beginning to have no size up front on their top lines. If Buffalo is seriously trying to make a run, I’m worried about the playoffs. I think this move helps Buffalo on the offensive scale. I'm just not sold on him being a #1 center yet. Time will tell.
I don’t really know if they have the physical element to get too far once playoff hockey starts.
All in all, Regier didn't do too badly today. I look forward to seeing what Hodgson can do for Buffalo against the Ducks Wednesday night.