Cody Hodgson and Zack Kassian were drafted in the top 13 in 2008 and 2009 respectively, but they both brought a different element to their game. Hodgson was a scoring center who needed room to work, but in a roster full of scorers, he couldn’t find a spot on a skill line. Zack Kassian, on the other hand, is known more for his size and grit.
After a few years of professional hockey, and now with both players just breaking into the NHL, the teams saw that they needed to swap the highly regarded youngsters. The Sabres, scuffling this season, need another offensive center to pair with Thomas Vanek, particularly since the Sabres dealt Paul Gaustad to Nashville. The Canucks needed a more defensive wing to pair with additional newcomer Sami Pahlsson on the third line. Stunning though the trade was, the teams swapping out top draft picks, it was a match that made sense.
In addition to the top forward prospects, the Sabres and Canucks included Marc-Andre Gragnani and Alexander Sulzer respectively. Both are defensemen.
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