The Vancouver Canucks got a whole lot tougher on NHL Trade Deadline day, adding huge power forward Zack Kassian in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres. They paid for the muscle, however, sending away highly-touted rookie Cody Hodgson. Alex Sulzer will also join Hodgson in Buffalo, while defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani will become a member of the Canucks.
If there was one glaring difference between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, it was in the level of physicality. The Bruins ran over every team in those playoffs and Vancouver was no exception, and adding Kassian immediately brings them a bunch of muscle up front. He's an aggressive forward who plays the game on the edge, but he's one of those guys who can do it without stepping over that edge too frequently.
Hodgson, drafted 10th overall in 2008, made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season with the Canucks, playing eight games that year. In 2011-12 he's become an everyday NHLer, scoring 33 points in 66 games. He was named as a rookie selection to the NHL All-Star festivities in January. He's a clever playmaker and his potential is through the roof.
Gragnani, 24, had his coming out party in the Sabres 2011 playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers. He's played 44 games for the Sabres this season and adds some depth to the Canucks blueline in the postseason, which can't hurt.
Sulzer, 27, has played just 12 games in the NHL this season. He's another depth defenseman who's strong positionally and can play on the power play.
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