Interesting news in Canuckland on Tuesday. Mike Gillis held a press conference to address the state of the franchise. Gillis addressed a number of issues, the most intriguing was about the Cody Hodgson trade.
Mike Gillis confirmed what was speculated a lot at the time of the trade, Cody Hodgson wanted out. Gillis then offered up this tid bit: “I spent more time on Cody’s issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years”. Gillis also indicated that the plan was essentially to showcase Hodgson this year, giving him favourable ice time (time on the power play, starting shifts in the offensive zone, etc).
Hodgson was traded to the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline in exchange for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. I didn’t like the trade at all at the time, and I don’t like it any better now. Gillis traded one of his leading scorers for two players who didn’t help the team in the here and now. Sure, Hodgson may have been difficult to deal with behind the scenes, but he was playing well despite this.
Looking back on the trade, it definitely hurt the team. The Canucks had insurance in goal if there was an injury to Roberto Luongo. They had insurance on defence if any of their defencemen got injured. But if one of their scoring forwards got injured (see: Daniel Sedin), they didn’t have much of an insurance plan with Hodgson gone (see: Mason Raymond). News also came out today that Ryan Kesler had been playing with a couple of different injuries, explaining why he wasn’t very effective offensively.
Imagine if the Canucks could have entered the playoffs with Hodgson filling-in for Daniel Sedin on the top line. Or imagine if Hodgson could have played on a line with David Booth, leaving the hobbled Kesler to centre a checking line. Maybe it would have made a difference, maybe it wouldn’t. But it just made no sense then or now to hand the third line centre position to a player who doesn’t score (Pahlsson) and give away a solid point producer, especially on the power play (Hodgson).
My biggest problem with the Cody Hodgson trade is that they got nothing in return to help them for this season. Hodgson may have been unhappy, but he was playing well. I don’t see any reason why Mike Gillis couldn’t have acquired Pahlsson, kept Hodgson as insurance and make the trade with Buffalo in the offseason.