Commentary: Canucks big on Kassian

Someone in the Vancouver Canucks organization must really, really like Zack Kassian.

So much that they were willing to move one of their most valuable assets for the 21-year-old power forward when instead, they could have dangled Cody Hodgson for another pretty good power forward. Maybe you’ve heard of him: Corey Perry.

Before I go on, let me preface this by saying I’m not one to throw out rumors. I have working relationships with a few NHL agents and journalists and I’ve interviewed a number of players and scouts, but I’m not by any means an “insider.” Heck, I’m still in school.

That said, I heard from a very good source that the Canucks had an offer on the table earlier in the year for Perry. This deal would have seen the Canucks acquire the reigning NHL MVP in exchange for Hodgson, Mason Raymond, and Keith Ballard. Similar rumors were reported around that time. I’ll admit, I laughed them off at the time.

Rumor is the Ducks were committed to the deal, but the Canucks backed out at some point after their 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in January. Keep in mind, this is when Sami Salo went down with an injury so the Canucks were concerned about losing too much depth.

Perry, meanwhile, apparently wasn’t Bruce Boudreau’s biggest fan but he wanted to stay on the West Coast.  Obviously, this is all secondhand information, but it’s coming from someone I trust.

Fast forward to Feb. 27, the much-anticipated NHL trade deadline, and the Canucks ship out Hodgson in a deal for Kassian. This tells me one thing (no, not that Hodgson asked for a trade): the Canucks are really high on the six-foot-three, 215 lb. winger.

The Province sports writer Tony Gallagher’s column supports this. Pro scout Eric Crawford and prospects guru Dave Gagner were the driving forces behind this deal, he says.

“Crawford . . . really thinks the world of the kid and believes he has the capability to be something approaching Milan Lucic down the road,” Gallagher wrote.

All this brings me to the question: were other NHL teams made aware of Hodgson’s availability? It sure doesn’t look that way. If Mike Gillis set up a bidding war of sorts, how much better of a return could the Canucks have gotten for the former Canadian major junior player of the year?

I guess we’ll never know.

Aside from that, here are the rest of my thoughts on the deal:

Farhan Devji
Farhan Devji is an author, journalist, and communications professional based in Ottawa. His work has appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, the Edmonton Journal, the Vancouver Sun, and the Montreal Gazette. Contact him directly at fdevji@gmail.com.

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