TO BUF: Nashville’s 2012 1st Round Draft Pick
TO NSH: C Paul Gaustad & Buffalo’s 2013 4th Round Draft pick
Nashville is in the midst of a playoff hunt and currently sits 5th in the West, trailing division rival St. Louis by 4 points and leading Chicago by 6 points. The Predators are 23rd in the league in faceoff percentage winning 49% of their draws. Adding Gaustad, who is in the last year of his contract, helps Nashville in that category. Gaustad boasts a 56.8% faceoff percentage this season, winning 495 of 871 faceoffs. Gaustad was a grinder in Buffalo and played a role using his physical presence. He also provided leadership for younger teammates. “Goose” as he is nicknamed, recorded 17 points in 56 games this season in Buffalo. Along with Gaustad, a 4th round draft pick in 2013 was sent to Nashville. In return, Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier received what he wanted, a 1st round draft pick.
Overall, Nashville satisfied the issue of faceoffs and added a grinder while Buffalo added a 1st round draft pick, which will give Buffalo a second 1st round pick come Draft time.
TO BUF: C Cody Hodgson & D Alexander Sulzer
TO VAN: RW Zack Kassian & D Marc-Andre Gragnani
Easily the biggest deal of the day in regards to the teams involved as well as the talent moved. Minutes after the 3pmEST deadline, TSN reporters stated that Kassian had been traded to the Canucks in exchange for Cody Hodgson; the Gragnani/Sulzer transaction was later added.
Zack Kassian, 21 year old right winger, was a top prospect who was drafted 13th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Kassian helped Buffalo earlier this season when injuries plagued the Sabres. In 27 games for Buffalo, Kassian recorded 3 goals, 4 assists, recorded a -1 rating and tallied 20 penalty minutes. Kassian, considered a “force,” will be a positive asset for Vancouver as they needed to improve in the physical game.
Cody Hodgson, a 21 year old center, is also a top prospect who was drafted 10th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He is in his rookie season and has 16 goals, 33 points and is a +8 in 63 games. Hodgson will fill a needed void in Buffalo, being a young and talented center who is NHL ready. Hodgson will help add a center role to the Sabres that was franctically being filled by various forwards.
Defensemen Marc-Andre Gragnani is happy to get a new start in Vancouver. The defensemen had been scratched for 12 of the last 13 Sabres games. Many fans were not pleased with Gragnani’s play as he committed too many costly turnovers. Being put under a microscope with fans is nothing a player wants. A fresh start for Gragnani in Vancouver, who adds a +10 rating and 12 points, in a season where ice time was limited in Buffalo.
Alexander Sulzer has only participated in 12 games this season and has recorded 1 point with a +6 rating. The 27 year old defenseman will help out the team in regards to depth on the defensive end.
Buffalo definitely “made it a win” on deadline day this year and Darcy Regier showed that he isn’t cheap in regards to making trades. Hodgson and the 1st round pick are definitely what Buffalo needed to help improve this team and make the goal of a Stanley Cup slowly take shape. With another 1st round pick, the Sabres could move that pick in a package deal for someone with value and try for a long playoff run in the 2013 playoffs. Today was definitely a win for the Sabres, leaving fans many happy. Although fan favorite, Paul Gaustad has departed, sometimes you need to give up something to get something. Hopes are that Gaustad comes back to Buffalo in the summer as he is a UFA July 1st.
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