The Other Guy In The Hodgson Trade
The big news for the Buffalo Sabres on trade deadline day was the deal that sent Zack Kassian, power forward of the future to the Vancouver Canucks for Cody Hodgson, top two center of the future. But there was another part to that deal. In a swap of defensemen, Marc-Andre Gragnani was shipped west for some guy named Alexander Sulzer.
I probably shouldn’t admit not doing my homework but I didn’t read up on Sulzer at all because I figured he was a throw in who wouldn’t see the ice as a Sabre and then leave this summer via free agency. I don’t feel too bad though. Even Lindy Ruff admitted he didn’t know much about the German native at the time of the trade and has been surprised at how well he has played.
Sulzer, who rarely saw the ice as a Canuck this season, has played in 11 straight games for the Sabres and showed some good chemistry with fellow German Christian Ehrhoff. The two have a history having played together for Germany during two World Championships and two Olympics. Looking like a solid 5/6 guy, Sulzer has averaged just under 17 and a half minutes of ice time with Buffalo.
He’s been sound in his own end but the Sabres like puck moving defensemen and more often than not, the 27 year old has made the right read and decision in getting the puck up ice.
Sulzer is no stranger to the NHL. A third round pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2003 draft, he played in 53 games with the Preds over parts of three seasons. He was traded to Florida last season and got in nine games with the Panthers.
Sulzer signed with Vancouver last July as a free agent. He made the team out of training camp but was a healthy scratch for the first three weeks of the season. He ended up playing in only 12 games so the trade has turned out to be a new lease on his hockey life. As a free agent to be, Sulzer is either playing himself into a new contract with the Sabres or showing his value to other teams around the NHL.