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Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 4:08 pm
 

Canucks ship Hodgson to Sabres for Kassian

By Brian Stubits

The biggest trade of the day -- by far, if you ask me -- came down some 40 minutes after the deadline. The Vancouver Canucks shipped young star Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer to the Buffalo Sabres for former No. 1 draft pick and top prospect Zach Kassian as well as defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Even on a more normal (see: busier) trade deadline day, that deal is going to make a lot of news. Hodgson is a big-time player who has been blocked from getting good ice time in Vancouver. But the idea of trading him didn't seem to be much of a good one with his potential. The problem is he plays center and the Canucks sort of have some good ones ahead of him. You might have heard of Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler.

This season playing bottom-6 minutes, Hodgson has 16 goals and 17 assists. He has been a player that the fans in Vancouver have rallied behind to get more ice time, but again there wasn't much of it for him to take.

So he gets sent to Buffalo for Kassian, who won't be blocked at the center spot. He's a true power winger who is rough and skilled. The best way to describe him is as a freight-train type on the ice, he isn't soft out there to be sure.

The addition of Gragnani for Sulzer in the deal makes it a lot more appetizing for Vancouverites. Sulzer is a bit of a journeyman defenseman who plays in the No. 5/No. 6 role when he actually does play (only 12 games with Vancouver this season) while Gragnani is inexperienced but still very young. This was the first season in which he played more than 10 games, appearing in 44 so far for the Sabres while scoring a goal and 11 assists while sporting a plus-10.

Giving up Hodgson definitely comes as a surprise but apparently he was expendable. And it helps the Canucks get something they could use, a little more grit and toughness. It's hard not to view this addition of Kassian as partly in preparation for a possible rematch with the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final based on last year's series. Bruins or not, it's a move to get a little tougher.

For Buffalo, it will be interesting to see if this satisfies the fan base's desire to see the team do something. It's been a very disappointing season, particularly based on the expectations for the Sabres so it was expected they'd do something. They waited until the very end by first trading Paul Gaustad to Nashville for a No. 1 draft pick and then this bombshell.

It's pretty easy to say that Hodgson is the big piece of this deal and he goes to Buffalo. But Kassian will have a role to fill in Vancouver without a doubt.

For the Canucks it was part of a busier day where they were determined to add some forward punch. In addition to the Kassian/Gragnani acquisition, they also landed Sami Pahlsson from the Blue Jackets and finished the day by getting Andrew Gordon from the Anaheim Ducks.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:34 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 8:22 pm
 

Nash stays put; Howson says Nash requested move

Columbus did exactly that, keeping No. 61. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The deadline has come and gone and Rick Nash remained with the Columbus Blue Jackets. That's going to make for an awkward end to what has been a very miserable season in Columbus.

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson didn't help it become less awkward when he told the media at his post deadline news conference that it was Nash who approached the team about a trade, not the other way around.

"With respect to Rick Nash. He approached us and asked us to consider a trade. We agreed to accomodate his request as long as we could get a deal that would provide us with cornerstone pieces to help us compete for a Stanley Cup championship in the coming years," Howson said. "It did not happen by 3 o'clock today. This is too important to our franchise and our fans to do a deal that is not in our best interest. We pursued a number of options, but none provided the value back that we could justify trading a player of Rick's caliber.

"It doesn't really matter how close we were because it didn't happen. We had significant discussions today, but it didn't happen."

For the last two weeks the ebbs and flows of the Nash story were as constant as the ocean tides. The biggest name on the trade block by a long ways, the deals being discussed were more than blockbusters. They would have been franchise definers.

But much like the rest of the 2012 trade deadline, it didn't get done. Really, it exemplifies the entire deadline. It was a dull a trade deadline as we've seen in a long, long time. We thought last year was quiet with only 16 deals on deadline day. This year beat that by one deal.

All along the Jackets were demanding a very high price for Nash, and rightfully so. Scott Howson absolutely had to get a huge return for Nash and was dead set on getting it.

"The price was high and I don't apologize for that," Howson said. "It had to be high."

The Rangers, long viewed as the front-runners, were reportedly out on Sunday night of the Nash hunt. But they ramped it back up according to reports. A lot.

In fact, Darren Dreger of TSN said they made a very serious final push in the waning hours.

That mammoth offer? According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, this is what it looked like:

Columbus GM Scott Howson rejected what is believed a Rangers' final offer of Dubinsky, 21-year-old defenseman Tim Erixon, 2011 first-rounder J.T. Miller, 2010 second-rounder Christian Thomas and a first-round selection in this June's Entry Draft.

That didn't fit Howson's high price and I can't blame him too much. He wanted one of four guys (Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh). The addition from previous reported offers was Christian Thomas, but it still wasn't enough.

Now all this means is that the talks will be put on hold. It really seems like this whole thing spun out of control so much that there is no way Nash can return to the Blue Jackets next season. The activity will pick up again in the summer time and you're likely going to see the same teams mentioned in the chase: The Rangers as well as the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Nash's agent said his list of teams he'll accept a trade to won't expand in the summer, so there likely won't be many surprise contenders, but you never know.

"He's a member of our team right now, he's our captain," Howson said. "That's not going to change, nothing's going to change. Obviously we are going to look at all of our options as we move forward. We'll see what happens once we get around the draft and this summer."

Howson essentially backed the bus up over his captain today. In no way did he really help this situation with his comments. Admitting that Nash came to him wasn't a great start to rehabbing the image, nor is it good in his pursuit of getting a great return. It became even more clear after this that Nash can't remain in Columbus now. He actively wants out and now everybody knows that. That strengthens the suitors' resolve in not caving to Howson's demands. Eventually if anyone caves you have to think it is Howson.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:33 pm
 

Paul Gaustad traded to Nashville

SabresPredatorsBy: Adam Gretz

The Nashville Predators made two of the biggest trades on Monday, and after picking up Andrei Kostitsyn from Montreal earlier in the day, they also landed center Paul Gaustad and a fourth-round draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

The first-round pick was the rumored asking price for much of the day, and the Sabres were able to find a team willing to give one up.

Gaustad was one of the most talked about players heading into the deadline, which should have given us an idea as to how quiet Monday would be, and gives the Predators a big body down the middle that can play a number of different roles. The most valuable asset he brings to the team might in fact be his ability in the faceoff circle as he's one of the best players in the league on draw, consistently near the top of the NHL. That fills a pretty big need for the Predators as they are currently one of the worst faceoff teams in the NHL.

It's certainly a high price to pay for Gaustad, an unrestricted free agent after this season, but it's also a clear sign that the Predators are going for it this season. Over the past week they've added Gaustad, Kostitsyn and Hal Gill to go to a team that already has two of the best defensemen in the NHL (Shea Weber and Ryan Suter) and one of the top goalies in the league in Pekka Rinne.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:25 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:29 pm
 

Samuel Pahlsson traded to Canucks

CanucksBlueJacketsBy: Adam Gretz

The Vancouver Canucks, a team that's already quite deep at the center position, added yet another one on Monday by acquiring Samuel Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a pair of fourth-round draft picks.

It's an interesting move for the Canucks because they already have a defensive-minded, shutdown center that plays a role similar to the one that Pahlsson plays in Manny Malhotra, though it's possible that Pahlsson could also spend some time on the wing, and it certainly gives coach Alain Vigneault some options.

The 34-year-old Pahlsson is perhaps best known for his role on the 2006-07 Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks team as a part of a line with Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer.

He's not going to provide much offense, scoring just two goals in 61 games this season, but he's a difficult player to score against, which has remained true even this season playing on what has been a brutal defensive team in Columbus. Via the data at BehindTheNet.ca, Pahlsson has only been on the ice for an average two goals against per 60 minutes of even-strength play, which was one of the lowest totals on the Columbus roster this season despite playing against some of the toughest opponents on a nightly basis.

Pahlsson was one of the players the Blue Jackets were expected to move on Monday, and now that he's gone, all eyes shift toward Rick Nash.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:24 pm
 

Blackhawks get Oduya from Jets for picks

By Brian Stubits

Everybody knew that if the Chicago Blackhawks were going to make a move this trade deadline it was going to be for a defenseman. The obvious target was Johnny Oduya from the Winnipeg Jets. And sometimes the obvious deals go down.

That's what happened today. The Jets sent Oduya to Chicago for a second- and third-round pick going to Winnipeg.

The Blackhawks have really needed help on the back end. They are down near the bottom of the league in goals against. Oduya likely won't help too much in that regard, but he could help to give them some offense from the blue line. On Sunday night the Blackhawks snapped an 0-for-39 drought on the power play, so you can see that's a unit that could use some juice.

Oduya was long rumored to be on his way out in Winnipeg and the claiming of Grant Clitsome earlier in the day paved the way to move Oduya out.

Oduya was acquired the by the then-Thrashers as a big part of the return for Ilya Kovalchuk in his trade to the Devils. Now? Check out how it has fared from the Jets/Thrashers perspective from Ted Starkey.

Oof.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:11 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Sharks get Galiardi, Winnik from Avs for McGinn

By Brian Stubits

The San Jose Sharks picked up some solid depth forwards from the Colorado Avalanche with just about an hour left in Monday's trading window, acquiring Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi from the Avs.

In return, the Sharks send Jamie McGinn, Mike Connelly and Michael Sgarbossa to Colorado according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.

You have to like both the additions from San Jose's perspective. Winnik and Galiardi both give them some grit and some scoring. Galiardi in particular could be the steal in this move. But I am a bit surprised to see the Sharks giving up McGinn in the process. He has been having a good season with the Sharks with 12 goals already. In Colorado he sort of fits in with the addition from earlier this week in Steve Downie.

It's not the biggest deal we'll see all day but it's a nice little move for San Jose. And we can't finish this blog without using this terrible pun:

The Sharks are now in it to Winnik.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:17 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 1:17 pm
 

Oilers trade Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz

WildOilersBy: Adam Gretz

One team that's already out of the playoff in the west, Edmonton, and another that is barely hanging on to its playoff hopes, Minnesota, struck a deal on Monday afternoon as the Oilers sent defenseman Tom Gilbert to Minnesota in exchange for defenseman Nick Schultz.

Both players are under contract through the end of the 2013-14 season, with Schultz carrying a cap hit of $3.5 million per season while Gilbert is set to earn $4 million per year via CapGeek.

From a hockey standpoint it's pretty easy to see what both teams are trying to accomplish here: Minnesota is trading a defensive-defenseman for more of an offensive presence on the blue line, while the Oilers are shipping out some offense in the hopes of adding more of a defensive mindset.

Gilbert burst onto the scene for Edmonton during the 2007-08 season with 13 goals as a rookie, but has scored just 19 over the following four seasons, including his three in 47 games this year. Even though the goal-scoring has gone down, he's done a nice job overall this season playing tough minutes for the Oilers.

The deal was apparently a bit of a shock in Minnesota, as Wild beat writer Michael Russo mentioned on Twitter that Schultz wasn't even told about the deal before the Oilers announced the trade on their official Twitter account.

Schultz, 29, has one goal and two assists in 62 games this season and logs nearly 20 minutes of ice time per night.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:34 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Everything quiet on the trade front ... for now

By: Adam Gretz

Less than three hours away from the NHL trade deadline and to say there's not much happening at the moment would be a laughable understatement. Outside of the Andrei Kostitsyn-to-Nashville deal that broke in the past hour (and Nashville is still looking to add more), the biggest news to surface has been the Winnipeg Jets claiming defenseman Grant Clitsome on waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets, which is actually a pretty solid pickup, even though it's not terribly exciting.

The addition of Clitsome for the Jets, a 26-year-old defenseman that has 14 points in 51 games this season after a 19-point performance in 31 games last season, has increased the rumors that the Jets could move veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya, an unrestricted free agent after this season. Other than that? There's not much happening at the moment.

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The Detroit Red Wings also sent defenseman Mike Commodore to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional sevent-round draft pick in a deal that gives the Lightning a desparetely needed body on the blue line, while the Red Wings clear a contract and some cap space. In the end, it's probably nothing more than Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman doing one another a favor.

The biggest player supposedly available, Columbus' Rick Nash, took part in Blue Jackets practice on Monday morning and nothing appears to be close. Predators general manager David Poile told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun that he is not trading Ryan Suter today, and Brian Burke said on TSN that he has no intention of trading upcoming free agent Mikhail Grabovski, and is more than happy to let the 3 PM deadline come and go without making a move.

The slow pace and lack of moves across the league shouldn't be much of a surprise given how few true sellers there are with so many teams still believing that they have a chance to make the playoffs. Look at it this way: there have been reports that the New York Islanders may be looking to add players ahead of the deadline. A team that's eight points out of the final playoff spot and in 13th place.

Everybody is buying and nobody is selling. 

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com