Most memorably, he scored a huge goal against Boston in early January, a goal that every Canuck fan will remember as he blasted a slap shot past Tim Thomas off the crossbar and in. There have been a number of other times, in his 16 goals this year, that his contribution has come at a key time or at an important moment when the team really needed a goal. I have no idea where this added offense is going to come from now that he’s gone. Another facet to the lost offense is that Hodgson was effective on the second power play unit, his departure leaving it without a proper centre.What makes this deal even worse from the Canucks perspective is what Hodgson looks like he’ll provide in the future. Based on his current trajectory, it doesn’t appear like there’s much that would stop Hodgson from becoming a top-flight NHL scoring centre. Those players are rare and difficult to come by. Here, the Canucks drafted one, developed him, nursed him through serious back injury, stuck with him, and finally when in his first year he scores 20 goals, many of them big, they trade him away for an unproven commodity.I understand the fact that the team’s braintrust felt they needed a different mix in the bottom-six, although, I’m puzzled by their consistent quotes to the contrary. The time to win for the Canucks is now. I really question whether or not these moves make the team better now – in fact, I believe that today the Vancouver Canucks are worse than they were this time yesterday.The Sedin twins are not getting any younger and the way Kesler plays, nobody knows how long his body will hold up. The team will need another scoring centre at some point, and unfortunately, that time may be sooner rather than later. And they just traded that scoring centre away. DID HODGSON’S CAMP ASK FOR A TRADE?This move is so puzzling, it has led many to ask whether or not there was something else going on.At one stage, it was apparent that Hodgson’s camp (i.e. his family and agent) were unhappy with the Canucks. These issues go back to his back injury, which was misdiagnosed multiple times, first by team doctors and then by other doctors that the player had sought out himself. Finally the issue was diagnosed properly and resolved. In addition, there have been rumblings about his camp being unhappy with his ice time this year. Vigneault, not comfortable using him in defensive situations, really sheltered Hodgson from the other team’s best players, to his benefit.Certainly, Hodgson’s family appears to be too involved in his career, as evidenced by the fact he’s changed agents three times in four years. When asked if Hodgson asked for a trade, Gillis gave a cryptic statement that effectively amounted to “no comment”. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.Assuming Hodgson’s camp wanted out (I say his camp because I don’t believe the player would have asked himself), the trade deadline was not the time to make this deal. Vancouver may not have been the place for Hodgson long-term, just as a result of the fact a Hart and Selke winner are ahead of him in the depth chart. Gillis would have been better served by waiting until the summer when he could field offers from all 29 teams in order to get the best return on this asset. I don’t believe he got the best return on this deal. CONCLUSIONI believe these trades will be ones that Canuck fans will regret for many years to come.Current team: I don’t believe Pahlsson can contribute much to the team at this point – he’s an aging, one dimensional centre most suited to a fourth line role as opposed to third. They have traded away Hodgson’s offense and not replaced it. They have gained a physical winger, but by all accounts, he’s only ready to contribute on the fourth line at this stage – he just hasn’t done much at the NHL level. The Canucks are a worse team right now than they were before the deadline.One intangible benefit of these moves is the fact that Kesler won’t have to be used so much in defensive situations, which may increase his offensive output. Unfortunately, unless he’s able to reproduce Hodgson’s 16 goals, this benefit won’t be realized. The pressure is now squarely on Kesler to produce, and produce at a rate he’s never produced at before. This is a likely a key part of the strategy employed by the team – but is also extremely high-risk.There is also now an immense amount of pressure on Kassian to provide this physical edge that the team was apparently looking for, all while being responsible defensively and chipping in with some offense. I highly doubt that he’s ready for the pressure he’s about to feel in a hockey-mad market like Vancouver.Many analysts and callers to local radio believe that the Canucks are “more complete” now than they were before the trade, as they now have a proper checking line and a more physical forward. However, this thinking is flawed, because it assumes that Pahlsson and Kassian can contribute right now. I haven’t seen them play very much at all, but I seriously doubt that either player will provide what they were brought in for, at this time.Future team: It’s always difficult to assess trades of young players. That said – it looks like Hodgson will blossom into a bona fide NHL scoring centre, a commodity that this team is going to need in the next 3-4 years. On the other hand, Kassian is a big kid who’s an unproven commodity. Scouts have reportedly told reporters that “he ‘may’ become a top-six NHL forward”. That doesn’t sound too positive to me, and I certainly don’t believe he’ll ever provide the type of offense that Hodgson will. While watching Hodgson put up 70-80 points or more in the future, I’ll always look at him as “the one that got away”. Leigh Ramsden lives in Vancouver and is an avid Canucks fan, having been a partial season ticket holder for over 10 years. He’s old enough to have witnessed all three Stanley Cup losses, as such, his prime goal is to remove those scars by seeing a Cup brought to Vancouver. Leigh is Fighting For Stanley’s (www.fightingforstanley.ca/vancouver) west coast correspondent, and will also blog after all Canuck games for The Nelson Daily. Coming into Monday’s trade deadline, it was apparent the Vancouver Canucks were going to make a move or two to help round out the team as it heads into the playoffs. The Canucks did just that and shocked most observers when they dealt impressive rookie and potential Calder trophy candidate Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres as the centerpiece of a deal that saw them acquire fellow rookie Zach Kassian. Also heading to Buffalo was throw-in defenseman Alex Sulzer, with Marc-Andre Gragnani coming back to Vancouver.In a related move earlier in the day, Canucks GM Mike Gillis acquired centre Sami Pahlsson for ECHL prospect Taylor Ellington and a pair of fourth-round draft picks from the Columbus Blue Jackets.The move left most of Canucks nation shocked and dumbfounded. Almost nobody saw the Canucks dealing Hodgson after the team had stuck with him through injury problems in his first couple of pro seasons, and had seen him break out this year into the player they drafted tenth overall. Hodgson was fifth in rookie scoring at the time of the trade, and was tied for second in goals, all earned with average per game ice time of 12:43. WHY WERE THESE TRADES MADE?As I noted in my trade deadline preview, the Canucks appeared unhappy with their mix in their bottom-six forwards, most especially, the third line. Hodgson had centered the third line most of the season, but his poor defensive abilities restricted how coach Alain Vigneault could deploy the line. AV was forced to use the line in offensive situations, as it was ill-equipped to face the opposing team’s skilled players. Vigeault noted this in an interview a couple of weeks ago, when he explained that last year, he had a line like that (at the time featuring Manny Malhotra, Jannik Hansen, and Raffi Torres). This impacted the team most primarily by increasing Ryan Kesler’s icetime significantly, which has negatively impacted his offensive production this year as he’s been forced into a defensive role more often than the team would like.The Canucks reportedly went after bruising Dallas forward Steve Ott, but were unable to consummate a deal with the Stars. At that point, they apparently turned their attention to rookie winger Kassian, who has only played 27 NHL games. Not having seen Kassian play, other than his turns on Canada’s World Junior team, it’s difficult for me to comment on what exactly the Canucks have acquired. That said, his NHL resume is very thin indeed. He reportedly has great skating ability, has decent hands, and by all accounts “could” be a top-six NHL forward.Clearly when it was apparent the Canucks were going to deal Hodgson, they needed a responsible two-way centre for the third line and were able to target Pahlsson, who is an unrestricted free agent after the season’s end. Pahlsson has a reputation as a good defensive centre and has wasted away the last couple of years in Columbus. Pahlsson’s most famous for providing incredible third line minutes in Anaheim’s Stanley Cup run in 2007.As noted, the Canucks acquired defenseman Gragnani, an offensive-minded defenseman. He’s 24 years old and will challenge for minutes in the team’s defensive group. He’s played 44 games for the Sabres so far this season, recording 12 points. His future contribution is a relative unknown. ANALYSISThese moves are definitely out of character for Gillis. These moves appear very reactionary, and that hasn’t been Gillis’ style thus far in his tenure in Vancouver.Gillis has stated consistently that he didn’t believe the team needed to be “tougher”. When the Stanley Cup final series against Boston concluded, he is on record as saying that it didn’t have to do with a lack of toughness, it had to do with a lack of scoring (it had more to do with horrible goaltending and even worse officiating, but I digress). Gillis’ stance was that when penalties were called, the team didn’t capitalize on its power play opportunities. This season, when teams have tried to take the Bruins’ approach with the Canucks, the Canucks have won by doing just that. That fact, combined with increased team toughness and an increased willingness to drop the gloves from the likes of Max Lapierre, Dale Weise, and Keith Ballard, led most people to believe the Canucks were happy with the makeup of their team from that perspective.With the third line operating more as an offensive line with Hodgson in the middle, many people believed the increased scoring depth that it provided meant the team was better, overall. Malhotra hasn’t been the same player this year and was plying his trade on the fourth line, where he’s been effective at winning faceoffs and clearing the puck.With all these facts, it’s somewhat dumfounding that the Canucks have done a complete 180 here and radically altered the look of their bottom six forwards. These moves represent a complete departure from their previous stance. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the cost of these moves is too high.Pahlsson’s best days are behind him. In fact, the only time in his career that he’s been a difference-maker was in that run to the Cup in 2007, which was a full five years ago. When I did my trade deadline preview, I didn’t even mention him because he lacks the physical edge the Canucks were reportedly looking for, and he’s been ineffective in Columbus – they are a last-place team. There’s a reason none of the prognosticators were mentioning him as a possibility to move – because nobody was interested in his services. In perusing his career statistics, he’s been a full-time NHL’er since 2000-2001, and only once has finished a plus player, way back in 2002-2003. It’s been five years since his magical run to the Cup – an eternity in the current-day NHL. In fact, Chicago traded for him in 2008-2009 at the trade deadline, where he finished minus-1 in 13 regular season games and minus-4 in 17 playoff games. Chicago let him go at the conclusion of the season.He provides absolutely zero offense, as well. As a result, I suspect that Canucks fans will be disappointed in what they have acquired as their third line is now a completely one-dimensional defensive unit, with questionable ability. Trading Hodgson for Kassian is where these moves get even more puzzling. If you were putting a team together to round it out in the future, this move might make sense. The Canucks have an excess of NHL centremen, and a lack of large physical wingers. In Kassian they have acquired a young player with potential, but without a complete body of work in the NHL, it’s very difficult to assess whether or not he can be a regular physical, offensive winger in a top-six role over the long term. He’s played only 27 games, and has scored only seven points, hardly an impressive resume. Clearly, Kassian may well round into a great NHL power forward.In giving up Hodgson, you’re letting go a proven NHL talent. While still classified a rookie, he’s blossomed in this first full season in the NHL and has continually provided the Canucks offense at very key moments. Mike Gillis has not made very many bad moves in his tenure here in Vancouver. I really hope I’m wrong here, but I’m going to have to rely on blind faith in the wake of these moves – “In Gillis We Trust”. If the Canucks win the Cup, and Pahlsson and Kassian contribute effectively, all will be forgotten by Canucks Nation. Unfortunately, anything short of that ultimate goal will be viewed as a failure. If it wasn’t before, the pressure is on. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the team can provide enough to overcome what they have lost in order to reach the ultimate goal, because the pieces that have been brought in will struggle to fill that void themselves.