As the saying goes in sports, the best trades are the ones that help both teams. Early on in this 2013 NHL season, the Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian deal is doing exactly that.
Hodgson is off to a tremendous start, anchoring a line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville that combined for 45 points going into the weekend.
Kassian is drawing rave reviews out west and is flourishing on the Canucks top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin although their point total is considerably less than the Sabres trio with 20 in Vancouver’s first 10 games.
Going into the weekend, Kassian led the Canucks in goals with 5. The five goals in 10 games already tops his total of four goals in 44 games last season and might be a surprise to many Canucks fans who didn’t see much from Kassian as he scored just once in 17 games following the trade out of Buffalo.
Playing with the Sedin twins certainly is a big factor for Kassian’s success but he also put in the work in the off season. The 6-3, 214 pound Kassian changed his perspective about training, getting himself a personal trainer and also working out at a high performance center that Nike runs for its elite athletes.
Kassian also spent part of his off season working out with the Sedin twins who went to Canucks management and requested that. The pair liked what they had seen in terms of Kassian’s potential and felt they could have a positive impact on the 22 year old forward.
In addition to improving his offense, Kassian has shown his physical side, consistently finishing checks and getting into a couple of fights on behalf of teammates.
One Vancouver columnist wrote about Kassian starting to bud and invoked the names of Todd Bertuzzi, the last true power forward the Canucks had, Cam Neely, the greatest power forward Vancouver ever traded away and even Vancouver native Milan Lucic, considered one of the top power forwards in the game today.