On Feb. 27, when it was announced that Cody Hodgson had been traded to Buffalo for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani, there were some mixed feelings amongst fans. While everyone hated to see the fan favorite go, some trusted Mike Gillis' decision while others resented him for it.
Feeling that Gillis was one of the best general managers in the league, I trusted him. But that well has run dry. In a five-game series where the Canucks seriously lacked secondary scoring, Hodgson's presence was hugely missed.
Would he have been able to get the Canucks past the Los Angeles Kings? Probably not, but who knows. Scoring from the third and fourth lines does have the ability to spark the whole team.
Instead, the Canucks played the series with Gragnani in the minors, and Kassian was virtually non-existent and well-deserving of being in the minors.
Of course, the reports that Hodgson had requested a trade were likely true, as he did not have a future of a top-two center with Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler ahead of him (although with Kesler's playoff performance, who knows).
In hindsight, Hodgson had one year remaining on his contract following the current season, and there was no reason Gillis couldn't have given him his wish at the entry draft or during the summer.
I doubt Hodgson wanted to be traded to the extent that he would have been upset with the idea of sticking with his team for the remainder of the season for a promising Cup run. He would have a chance at the Cup before becoming a top-two center, and the Canucks would keep a valuable asset.
But regardless of whether Hodgson was traded at the trade deadline or during the summer, Mike Gillis was clearly either delusional or didn't test the market enough, and that hasn't changed. Gillis told TSN Tuesday,"I don't regret that trade. I'd do it today."
Not that I don't believe Kassian will be a great player in the future, but the Canucks needed to focus on now. Now is when they won the President's Trophy. Now is when they enter the playoffs as a Stanley Cup favorite. Now is when the Sedins are in their prime, and now is when the Canucks have two of the most elite goaltenders in the league.
If Gillis thought Kassian could help the Canucks now, he was wrong. If he got him because he will help them in the future, his efforts were misdirected.
Either way, the return on Hodgson should have included more proven players who not only have a future with the Canucks, but the ability to help them now—as Hodgson brings to the table in Buffalo.
The ripple effect of this trade is huge, as it also increases the possibility of Roberto Luongo getting traded this summer. Gillis doesn't have many friends after trading away a fan favorite, and he likely won't be willing to do it again with Cory Schneider.
In addition, we can expect that Gragnani will be re-signed this summer, as Gillis hopes to prove that the Feb. 27 acquisitions can have a positive impact.
Due to the Hodgson trade and the lack of a presence from Kassian in the playoffs, each and every move Gillis makes this summer will not just be in an effort to better the Canucks, but to save his job as well.