In the playoffs, Pahlsson and Kassian made the Hodgson trade harder to swallow

Back in February, Mike Gillis shocked the NHL by trading away one of the best rookies in the league for an unproven power forward prospect. The fact that this came at a time when the Canucks were supposed to be buyers gearing up for the playoffs baffled and even angered a lot of Canucks fans.

Cody Hodgson was seen by a lot of people — including us at PITB — as part of the solution for the scoring issues that hit the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He made the third line into a scoring line rather than a checking line and improved the second unit powerplay to the point that I suggested he be moved to the first unit when the powerplay was struggling. He was also one of the main reasons the Canucks had a lot of powerplay opportunities early in the season, as he was the best player on the team at drawing penalties.

But my favourite thing that Hodgson did was make goal posts sing with his blistering slap shot. To put it simply, I liked Hodgson a lot.

So when Mike Gillis sent him to Buffalo for Zack Kassian, I was shocked. After all, the dark times had passed for Hodgson and, while still a longshot, he was in the Calder Trophy conversation after 10 points in 11 games in January saw him named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month.

In the wake of the trade deadline, I was accused of rationalizing the trade and defending Gillis, but all I was trying to do was understand what had just happened. The deal made sense for the future, as the Canucks traded from a position of depth at centre for a position of weakness on right wing and increased their size with the 6’3″ Kassian. They also acquired a young defenceman with upside in Marc-Andre Gragnani for the added price of Alex Sulzer, who was on a one-year deal and couldn’t get into the lineup with the Canucks’ defensive depth.

I thought I saw a way that the trade made sense for the current season as well, particularly in the playoffs. When the Canucks acquired Samme Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets, he effectively replaced Hodgson as the third line center. Since Hodgson had struggled playing on the wing this season (despite claiming it wouldn’t be a big adjustment), that left him without a spot in the lineup.

By moving Hodgson when his value was arguably at its highest, the Canucks were able to pry Kassian, the Sabres’ best prospect, away from Buffalo. I felt Kassian could, at minimum, contribute on the fourth line in a physical role if he wasn’t ready to contribute in an offensive role. I argued that the trade actually made the Canucks better for this season and that the real gamble was in the future.

I think the argument  still makes sense and that, at the time, the trade did improve the Canucks for the postseason. The only problem is that neither of the two players performed as expected.

I’m not saying at all that Hodgson would have made a difference in the series against the Kings. Any claim that he didn’t get an opportunity to develop as a defensive player is flawed: being an effective player in the defensive zone doesn’t mean that you have to play against great offensive players. It means that you need to be effective defensively in whatever position you are placed. Hodgson struggled defensively against some of the weakest competition faced by any player on the Canucks and when he was given more ice time against tougher opponents with the Sabres, he struggled. The Kings would have targeted Hodgson’s line and eaten him alive.

But the truth is that Pahlsson didn’t fare much better, and that makes it much more difficult to swallow making the Hodgson trade at the deadline rather than during the offseason.

In game one, Pahlsson got mainly defensive zone starts and played mostly against the Anze Kopitar line. It did not go well. He had a team-worst minus-10 Corsi rating in that game and was on the ice for 2 goals against, one at even strength and one while shorthanded. In game two, the coaching staff got Pahlsson away from Kopitar and only gave him 4 defensive zone starts at even strength and things turned around: Pahlsson had a plus-7 Corsi and scored a goal.

But by that point, Pahlsson had lost his coach’s trust. In game three, Pahlsson had just 3 defensive zone starts at even strength and only took 1 defensive zone faceoff. In game four, his defensive zone starts were back up to 8, but he took no defensive zone faceoffs. Suddenly, Pahlsson had to be sheltered, though certainly not to the extent of Hodgson.

By game five, Pahlsson was back in a shutdown role, with 10 defensive zone starts at even strength and 7 defensive zone faceoffs, facing mainly the Kopitar or Richards lines. He did fairly well to contain them, but had one major lapse in judgement in overtime, going for a line change before Hamhuis had reached center during overtime, leading to Jarret Stoll coming in on a 2-on-1 and snapping it top corner over Schneider’s shoulder.

Putting all the blame for the series loss on Pahlsson is as silly as saying that Hodgson would have won the series for the Canucks, but a better performance from Pahlsson would have made the Hodgson deal a lot more palatable in the short term.

A better performance by Kassian also would have done the trick, but he played 6 minutes or less in each game, ending up as a healthy scratch in game five. He was simply a non-factor, which isn’t necessarily a negative for his long-term prospects as an NHL player, but it punches a large hole in my theory that the trade made the Canucks a better team this season. I expected Kassian to at least contribute with a regular shift on the fourth line. He didn’t.

While I still think the trade made sense at the time and may still prove to be a good trade for the Canucks, a larger contribution in the playoffs by Kassian and Pahlsson would have made it a lot easier to swallow.

 

Tags: , ,

46 comments

  1. rvtBC
    April 25, 2012

    I agreed with what you said then and I agree now.

    I think the trade always was much more ‘future’ oriented in payoffs down the road, especially given Kassian’s age. That said, my puzzlement then (to a certain degree notwithstanding some of the rationale for MG pulling the trigger) and even now, is why the trade was made at the deadline rather than just waiting until the post-season. You would have thought it’d still be available in the summer. And if Cody was still being ‘showcased’ and performed well, his stock would have just increased even more.

    Let’s not forget: hindisght is 20/20. Unfortunately. That’s why I’m sitting here at work and not on a beach sipping gin and juice.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
    • Nick
      April 25, 2012

      Agree about the timing 100%. If MG was planning to move Hodgson all along, it sure seems like he could have gotten a better return for this asset. Aside from Schneider, he was one of the few attractive trade pieces in play, and he could have been part of a package this off-season for someone better than Kassian.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  2. Brent
    April 25, 2012

    “I was accused of rationalizing the trade ”

    Hey I did that! I think I said “this is the biggest piece of rationalization you have ever written”. So was that comment directed at me? Hope so, cause then I am almost famous! rather than just being a legend in my own mind.

    I think that now the trade is a moot point. We are probably all in agreement that Cody wanted to go, and it was just a question of what we would get for him. Hope someone works with Kassian in the off season so he comes back more effective. He certainly looked lost out there in the playoffs. I would like to keep Paulsson too, lets hope we can re sign him. MAG? whatever..

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +11 (from 13 votes)
  3. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 25, 2012

    You make some good points Daniel. However, if Gillis was only thinking future, he should be lambasted for wasting a season where the team finished in first place. Teams make “rebuilding” trades at the deadline when they’re out of the hunt, or just on the fringe, not when they’re a favoured contender. And in the present, Gillis obviously took for granted what was actually a big weakness of the team, which was scoring depth. One would think he’d have learned his lesson from past failures, but he obviously didn’t.

    The minor leagues are littered with “big, gritty players with offensive upside”. The NHL tends to made up with guys with talent and hockey smarts. That’s why a trade of the latter for the former is always a bad idea.

    I think you’re particularly on point about the Pahlsson trade as well. Fact is, the team did just fine last year with 2-way players up and down the lineup but without the need to dedicate half the forward corps to lines not expected to score. Lest we forget, before his injury even Malhotra was seen as a two-way player who could be counted on for 10-15 goals without being put in much of a position to score. And the team succeeded just fine with a similar strategy this year: three lines that keep their feet on the gas offensively (but have two way players) and a 4th that you put out rarely but with key defensive role players for starts on your own zone. The trade deadline screwed that all up, and surprise, the team’s blueprint for winning was out the window. For all the talk about sheltered minutes, I’d rather see a third line that plays sparingly but is a threat to score when it does than a third line and fourth line that play sparingly and don’t threaten to do anything except get scored upon.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
    • Tom
      April 25, 2012

      I like how Blake Price put it yesterday morning (or was it Moj last night?) : `the team didn`t lack secondary scoring. They lacked PRIMARY scoring!

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      April 25, 2012

      Indeed. As I see it, a team either has to dedicate the top couple of lines to pure scorers and then send the checkers out as needed, or they need to have a balanced attack that consists of three lines and maybe even the fourth. The Canucks top line had Burrows on it (truly a two way player), the second and third had Kesler, Booth, Raymond, Higgins, Hansen, Lapierre, etc. Ie: this team has a lot of guys who CAN score, but it needs to be a top to bottom commitment, because most of those guys are not pure offensive talents but really more like two-way players. When you have a lineup like that, you need all of your lines to have offensive engines on them in order to balance out your attack. Moving Cody and replacing him with Samme basically turned the team from a balanced-attack three line team into the Sedins, a bunch of two way guys, and a pile of checkers. Any team like that will struggle to get goals, and just look at what happened.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
      • Nick
        April 25, 2012

        Even if they continued to “shelter” Coho against the Kings, they probably still would have had a more effective PP.

        He has some limitations, but he was brilliant as the play-making engine of the second unit.

        If Gary Roberts can help him to improve his speed, he’ll be able to help the Sabres in other ways too.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
        • Daniel Wagner
          April 25, 2012

          The powerplay was struggling prior to the Hodgson trade, though, which suggests that the issues on the powerplay might have been systemic which is troubling. But it’s not something that Hodgson’s presence was fixing prior to the trade. That said, Hodgson is definitely good on the powerplay and will help Buffalo with the man advantage. I’m just not convinced that he would have been the solution for the Canucks. The powerplay is something the Canucks need to take a good, hard look at in the offseason.

          Footspeed is definitely the big issue with Hodgson: it was the issue when he was drafted and it was just made worse by his back injury and nerve damage in his leg. While he could potentially improve under Roberts’ tutelage, some of Hodgson’s skating issues are due to physical limitations that won’t change.

          VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • Lenny
      April 25, 2012

      Yes. I’ve been saying, as a contender, we need to have a top 9, bottom 3 philosophy. Every line needs to be defensively responsible, every line needs some combination of size, skills and speed. The deadline trades turned us into a typical top 6, bottom 6 team, an uncompetitive bottom 6 at that.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  4. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    April 25, 2012

    How does a center get zone starts without faceoffs? Was Påhlsson being used on the wing?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Tom
      April 25, 2012

      I recall that the announcers often remarked on how there were 2 centers on the ice for faceoffs, in case one was kicked out.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
      • Cam Charron
        April 25, 2012

        Yeah, so Pahlsson didn’t take those draws because Malhotra wasn’t kick out of any.

        Then again, who expected Alain Vigneault to roll three lines instead of four? Was that lack of trust in Pahlsson, or the wingers?

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
        • peanutflower
          April 25, 2012

          Well, actually, Manny was kicked out once in, I forget, game 1 or 2 and the LA Kings scored on whoever replaced him. Sorry, can’t remember the exact details but I remember jumping up and yelling at the TV wondering what rationale was used to kick players out the circle. On that particular instance none that I could see. Does anyone ever see any rationale for that happening? I continue to think of it as a power move by the official. If I can find the details on that one I’ll post.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • Cam Charron
            April 25, 2012

            I cannot find a goal that matches your description, unfortunately.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Lenny
      April 25, 2012

      We often ice 2 centres in the defensive zone faceoff, even offensive zone sometimes with Kes and Hank, especially during the PP. New to hockey?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -9 (from 11 votes)
      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        April 25, 2012

        No, I’m not “new to hockey”, thanks. That’s why I surmised above what the explanation was. But I recalled Påhlsson largely playing with Higgins and Hansen, not Malhotra, so I wondered how often he wasn’t lining up as a centerman.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  5. Chris
    April 25, 2012

    If Hodgson was being showcased, and the big worry was he needed to be sheltered to protect his image, then he could easily have been exposed, and all the hard work of this past season would have been lost.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  6. sarah
    April 25, 2012

    I have a hard time judging ANYTHING based on those playoffs. They just sort of feel like an aborted effort all around. Other than goal tending, everything just felt…off. It would be nice if we could all just agree that these past 5 games never happened and start looking ahead to next season.

    Speaking of next season, that’s what I’ll use to judge Kassian. I imagine it will be much more informative to have a full season of Cody and Zach with their respective teams to get a sense of what the trade means to both organizations.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  7. Tengeresz
    April 25, 2012

    I’m willing to take GMMG and his post-season comments at face value, which boil down to:

    Cody wanted to get out of town,
    There were a small group of top prospects worth trading him for
    One of those came open.
    Done Deal.

    Since I don’t have the benefit of a world-wide scouting network to base my opinions on, I’m willing to wait and see if the “Top Prospect” turns out the way we all hope he does.

    Cody was not happy being on one of the best teams in the world with a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup this year and in the near future. He was fun to watch, and when playing with Canuck support looked like he was becoming more effective; but, if he was going to go in any case (and he was), then it makes sense to get what you want for him in trade.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +27 (from 27 votes)
  8. Andre
    April 25, 2012

    I admire you guys – and this entire blog – for the level-headed honesty you bring to sports writing. You’re the antidote to Fox News.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  9. JDM
    April 25, 2012

    Given the blue line shuffle, I would have liked to see MAG at some point, given his performance for Buffalo last year. I mean, he can’t have been any worse than Edler.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 8 votes)
    • Nick
      April 25, 2012

      Not me. I thought one of the things that AV got right was to sit MAG. The only thing scarier to me than seeing MAG on the blueline in such a tight series would be seeing him there, but paired with Edler.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  10. p2
    April 25, 2012

    Should more be talked about in terms of cap implications? If Cody didn’t want to stay, would he have taken a discount like Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, etc? At the same time, taking on Ballard and Booth, while not terrible trades, makes cap management a more primary issue. Given that, would it be so bad to get pahlson, but keep cody just in case and trade him in the offseason? Maybe that calculus just doesn’t work since he’s RFA and the canucks aren’t going to get that “elite” prospect in return.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • peanutflower
      April 25, 2012

      I’m betting Old Ritch was just waiting to one-two punch with Cody’s contract demands.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  11. tom selleck's moustache
    April 25, 2012

    If Hodgeson’s January numbers were inflated and unsustainable, then I can see trading him at the deadline as opposed to the post season making sense. Because if he was a defensive liability, that likely would have become an issue in the playoffs for all to see, diminishing his value and yielding less in return. So trading him when his stock was likely at its highest would have to be considered the better move.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  12. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    April 25, 2012

    In case anyone missed it, Elliotte Friedman has a bit of scuttlebutt on who the other players were that Gillis was willing to part with Hodgson for. One of them (according to his sources) was Kyle Clifford. Ewwwwww.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  13. akidd
    April 25, 2012

    when you get lucky and pick 10th overall the highest scorer ever in world junior, the chl mvp, a team canada captain and assistant captain, a guy rated the top prospect not in the nhl and a guy who had been winning on the highest level since he was six years old you develop that player so that he continues his winning ways on your team.

    but when this player demands a trade, for good reason or not, then you have to trade him.

    my first comment after being gobsmacked by the trade and slamming my hand down on the counter when hearing it on the radio was that there had to more to the story. because straight up this was not a trade that any sane gm would make. way too risky for a guy like gillis who is so methodical. and there was. coho wanted out. whacha gonna do?

    gillis relied on scouting to tell him that kassian was the right asset. those are his people. if he’s going to second-guess them then he shouldn’t have hired them.

    if we’re doing the hindsight thing here(and what else can you do after the season finishes) then how about signing sturm? hard to defend that move. and booth too? is booth going to improve next year? and mr. 2007? kinda blew that one too.

    gillis isn’t perfect but i like him anyways. now the ‘human performance plan’ really has me curious. gillis is an overview guy. he was playing for next year all along.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      April 25, 2012

      But the point remains, who in their right mind mails in a season where the team finishes first in the whole league? That speaks of pure lunacy. Build for the future, fine, but not at the expense of the present, where we will have had Sedins in their prime, two #1 goalies, a lot of affordable role players, etc.

      Here’s whacha gonna do. Tell the kid to shut up and play and he’ll get his chance. He’s 20, has no rights, and is getting a lot of bad advice in one ear. He’s too smart to hold out, and too smart to play like crap to force a trade, not to mention that being a part of a team can often make one change one’s mind. Not everyone is happy all of the time, but I don’t ask for a divorce every time I disagree with my wife, and I don’t quit my job every time I have a bad day at it.

      People might suggest that Gillis was being a nice guy by trading him, I say he was being a weak coward. A GM with more backbone could set things right for both the player and the franchise, while doing what’s best for both. Trading CoHo was certainly not that.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -1 (from 9 votes)
      • Daniel Wagner
        April 25, 2012

        Part of it is that Hodgson’s value was very high after riding some great percentages through January. As much as people say the trade would have been available in the offseason, there’s no guarantee of that. He had a 12-game pointless streak before he started contributing offensively for the Sabrres and he had just 3 points in 11 games prior to that. It’s possible that the shine would have gone off him if he had gone through that kind of slump down the stretch. Then you still have an upset player who wants out and now he’s not worth as much.

        Your suggestion that Gillis is a coward is absurd. Of all the things the Hodgson trade was, cowardly is not one of them.

        VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          April 25, 2012

          Sure, the Hodgson trade was bold. You know what would’ve been even more bold? Actually resolving an issue instead of trading it away.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: -1 (from 5 votes)
          • tom selleck's moustache
            April 25, 2012

            How do you know that the issue could even be resolved? If there’s anything that could be said about the Canucks under Gillis, it’s that they are a very patient organization. You look at how they handled the situations with Rypien, Malhotra, O’Brien, Wellwood, Schaeffer… it’s arguable that respect for the player is priority number one for them and that they can be extremely magnanimous in their handling and treatment of player personnel. It’s very likely that they approached the Hodgson situation in the same way.

            On the other hand, Mr. Winters has already demonstrated himself to a complete dingbat, and Hodgson’s father is allegedly not far off. It’s all well and good to simply throw out the claim that they should have “resolved it”. But if the other side is not willing to work with you, then how much energy should they really be expected to invest in this situation? What if it gets to the point where it’s taking away attention and resources away from the other 21 players on the team? At some point, you have to draw a line.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
      • Chako Mika
        April 25, 2012

        I don’t understand your argument that MG ‘mailed in’ the season. It makes no sense. Are you saying he expected them to go down in the first round?

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • akidd
          April 25, 2012

          if he was playing for this year he would’ve brought back immediate scoring help at the deadline. gillis is all over fatigue science. he understands that the scf hangover is more than on old wives’ tale and that suregeries to kesler and raymond(and elder) take more than a a few months to heal.

          he had a good 7 weeks from the bruins game to the trade deadline to estimate that his team was in a trough and to finalize his estimation that this was probably not the year. so he brought back two guys who might help next year.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      April 25, 2012

      It’s really easy to defend the Sturm signing, actually. He was a former consistent 20+ goalscorer with experience who had injuries that prevented him from playing a full season in 2010-11. Signing him to a one-year deal was a calculated risk to see if he could return to the player he once was. He couldn’t, so Gillis turned him into a different asset.

      As for Booth, he had an off year, but I’m willing to bet that he’ll be better next season. He’s a guy who’s scored 30 goals before, but clearly has some consistency issues. However, with his possession numbers and a full year with the Canucks, I think he’ll be better. It would have been nice to keep Samuelsson as well, but you have to give to get.

      I have no idea who Mr. 2007 is supposed to be.

      But no, Gillis isn’t perfect. He’s definitely not clairvoyant, because he would have seen that Sturm wouldn’t pan out or that Pahlsson wasn’t going to be able to shutdown a guy like Kopitar. There are risks with any trade or signing, though.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • Anonymous
        April 25, 2012

        I believe Mr. 2007 is Pahlsson? For what he did for Anaheim that season?

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
        • akidd
          April 25, 2012

          you got it. both paulsson and sturm seemed like clumsy choices to me.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • akidd
        April 25, 2012

        a david johnson brought up an interesting stat in a comment on drance’s last article to counter this booth corsi stuff that you’ve been sticking to this year. that booth suppresses shooting percentage. he’s way down there in the league for this. it matches observation too. hardly the “unluckiest guy in the league.”

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • Daniel Wagner
          April 25, 2012

          It’s an interesting argument, but it’s not necessarily a true one. Booth’s on-ice shooting percentage this season was the lowest of his career. That’s not all bad luck, certainly, but it’s not like he has a history of suppressing on-ice shooting percentage. It’s possible that he needs to make some adjustments to his game, but it just doesn’t seem likely that he’ll have a repeat of the worst season of his career in terms of how he and his linemates shot the puck.

          VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • akidd
            April 25, 2012

            in case you missed it:

            David Johnson
            April 20, 2012

            Actually, Booth’s on-ice shooting percentage over the past several years is pretty low. Back when he played a lot with Nathan Horton (who is excellent at driving on-ice shooting percentage) he was putting up good numbers, but the last 3 seasons he has been below average. He ranks 191st of 221 players with 2000 minutes of 5v5 zone start adjusted ice time over the past 3 seasons. His 3 year fenwick percentage is 52.3% but his 3 year goal percentage is 42.4%.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        April 26, 2012

        I was convinced at the time that signing Sturm was with the anticipation that he would be out most of the year, allowing for a Salo-Edler type maneuver that the Canucks pulled last year to be over the cap when the playoffs rolled around. Either I was wrong, or Sturm was failing to get injured, so they shipped him off. :)

        Apart from my theory at the time, I disagree that it was logical move on July 1. There was a pretty broad consensus that he was done as a player, and most everyone said so at the time.

        All that said, I still don’t mind the trade, because the Canucks needed (and continue to need) a guy like Booth. It’s a shame he couldn’t be more of a difference-maker in the Kings series, because a net-driver is what they needed indeed.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  14. Nick
    April 25, 2012

    I’m disappointed that, in the aftermath of playoff elimination, the scapegoating is really focused on Paulsson.

    It’s not like they gave up much for the guy (Taylor “never gonna make it” Ellington & a couple of 4ths).

    He was very sound down the stretch, didn’t hurt the team, and adjusted quickly to AV’s style of play.

    And people seem to forget how well the Higgins / Hansen / Paulsson line played over the last 15 – 20 games.

    The local media were gushing about how this may have been the team’s best line during that time.

    Saying the Paulsson trade was a disappointment because Kassian didn’t contribute doesn’t wash.

    They were separate deals that happened to made on the same day, and the success of one shouldn’t colour the perceived success of the other.

    If Kassian had come in and played like the second coming of Lucic, would people be saying that the Paulsson deal was brilliant?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      April 26, 2012

      I agree with this. People were jubilant over Påhlsson’s contributions right up until the playoffs started. He didn’t have a great series, but no one on the team did, who doesn’t play goal. There seems to be a lot of revisionism going on.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      April 26, 2012

      My disappointment with Pahlsson has nothing to do with Kassian. The two are only linked in terms of the Hodgson trade.

      Pahlsson was very good to end the regular season. The third line was easily the Canucks’ best line down the stretch. But the fact is that he was brought in to anchor a checking line and he just plain didn’t do that in the playoffs.

      I’m fine with him coming back next season and I’m optimistic that these playoffs were just a blip in his game, but he was disappointing and it’s hard to deny that a better performance from him would have made it easier to swallow the Hodgson trade this season. That’s all I was trying to say.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  15. Gimmic
    April 25, 2012

    Good writeup.

    For me, the reality is the Hodgson trade should have never happened in the 1st place.

    Gillis claims there are ‘maybe’ 6 players in the league who fit the ‘role Kassian does’ and those players are hard to find – hence he had to give up something to get something hard to find. Then Friedman later revealed that Gillis was targeting not just large physical forwards in a trade for Hodgy, but defensemen. Naming Kyle Clifford and Gudbranson as 2 of the 6 players he would have traded for. This information blew up any idea of Gillis and “maybe 6 players in the league who fit the role Kassian does”, cause Kassians not a defensemen. If Gillis were honest, he would say I was looking for someone other than Hodgson, but this player had to be young and have promise.

    Now, to my ‘this trade should have never happened in the 1st place’. Enter NHL entry draft 2009. Gillis had the 1st round 22nd over selection where he chose Jordan Schroeder. At this point, Kyle Clifford was still available. More so, 2010 entry draft. Gillis had the 1 st round, 25 over all selection. This was the exact selection where Quinten Howden (6’3, 180 lbs, LW) was selected. The issue is Gillis had just give up this pick to Florida along with Grabner in exchange for Keith Ballard. My point, big hulking offensivly minded players (that Gillis claims are hard to find) were available to him, but he chose not to pick them in one way or another.

    The reality is these types of players are not hard to find. In his 4 yrs of drafting, he just chose not to select them and now looking back realizes he made a mistake. Now he’s playing catch up by making more trades that turn out to be at least short term and potential long term busts, something we are all familiar with watching. He then goes on to blame the weather, some prospect who’s no longer with the club and Mother Theresa for his own faults. He’s left the farm team and Canucks future with little to no prospects. Every year, Canucks ar ranked as having some of worst prospects int he league. Who’s fault is it Gillis? Hodgson, league side changes, the weather? No, it’s his fault. He makes the draft selections, he didn’t bring in a well rounded set of prospects and he made bad trades in his tenor in Vancouver. He needs to be accountable and leave. He’s killing the future of this team.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
    • Tom
      April 26, 2012

      I am glad you’ve given me an opportunity to address something that I’ve heard a few comments on this subject. I’m not going to address your whole comment, so please bear that in mind.

      The problem is just in listening comprehension, here is my transcript of the relevant portions of Gillis’ interview:
      “…There were, six young players on other teams that I would have traded him for if any of them were ever made available. One was made available at the trade deadline; it was Zack. Zack is a commodity that is impossible to get – if we develop him and make him into the player we think he can be.”
      “There’s five players in the league that I think are the equivalent. And you can not get them. You can’t get them in free agency. You can’t get them in a trade. So, it’s really up to us.”

      So, he said that there were six – not “five or six”, as I’ve heard mentioned in other comments – players that he was willing to trade Cody for. One of them was Zack. He said that there are five – again, he didn’t equivocate, he gave a definite number – players in the whole league that he feels are the equivalent of what Zack has the potential to become. So therefore he said that it was “up to us” to develop him into that same kind of player.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  16. pmjw
    April 26, 2012

    You’re right in pointing out Pahlsson’s shortcomings in the Playoffs. And that includes being directly responsible for the lone goal in game 3 (it wasn’t Edler like the other reporters said). Pahlsson was cleanly beaten on the faceoff, then checked Dustin Brown, followed him into the right corner and laid on a good hit on the boards…but then LEFT HIM after the check. Pahlsson then made the fatal mistake of going all the way out to try to stop Kopitar’s shot (he was somebody else’s responsibility). The rebound comes out to–who else?–an all-alone Dustin Brown. Yes Edler lost track of him too, but it was 3 mistakes by Sammi on the one play that led to the loss.

    That’s just one example of many. He had a poor series.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)