Tag: Zack Kassian


Should the Sabres buy out Hodgson?


If you want a study in how far a player can fall in a season, you may not find a better example than Buffalo Sabres forward Cody Hodgson.

There was a time when many believed that the Sabres fleeced the Vancouver Canucks in a trade that also involved Zack Kassian. The tune changed quite a bit recently, as he was a healthy scratch at times during a disastrous 2014-15 season.

Now talks are once again cropping up about a possible buyout for Hodgson, as GM Tim Murray told WGR 550’s Paul Hamilton that the situation is “still a decision.” Meanwhile, Murray told Hodgson to improve his skating and conditioning during the offseason.

This is one of the more explicit moments in which the topic came up, yet it’s not the first. The Buffalo News discussed it at the end of the season. The subject popped up in Elliotte Friedman’s popular “30 Thoughts” article back in February.

This is Buffalo’s chance to make such a decision, as the period takes place in June, and teams see big savings if they buy out a player before they turn 26 (it jumps from one-third of the cost to two-thirds once they hit that age).

The Buffalo News mercifully did the math of a Hodgson buyout, to best illustrate the savings:

Buffalo still owes Hodgson $19 million, so a buyout would cost the club $6.27 million. The organization needs to decide if the former 10th overall pick can reach that potential. The buyout period is in June.

In that same article, the 25-year-old said he’d love to be back in Buffalo, and struggled to explain his issues beyond “bad luck, whatever you want to call it.”

While there are obvious reasons why this could be beneficial, here are a few counterpoints to buying him out:

  • He’s still young: It’s not as if Hodgson hit a wall physically. Sometimes young scorers have one of those “Murphy’s Law” years where everything goes wrong. It seems silly to throw away a possible point-producer on a team that was woeful offensively last season.
  • It would be wasted money: The Sabres aren’t cap-strapped, but they’d be throwing away that $6.27 million for nothing. What if he could redeem himself and then at least be more valuable on the trade market?
  • He could click with all the changes: Perhaps Dan Bylsma would suit him well and give him a fresh voice? Maybe Hodgson finds chemistry with Evander Kane next season?

Buffalo needs to make this decision soon, whether they keep the struggling young forward or not. What should they do?


Ted Nolan was exasperated with him, but said he wasn’t a lost cause.

Video: Burrows leads Canucks past Flyers with two goals in 17 seconds

Alex Burrows

Forward Alex Burrows (groin) returned to Vancouver’s lineup on Tuesday and he made his presence felt. With the Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers locked in a 1-1 tie early in the third period, Burrows found the back of the net for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Then he provided the Canucks with an insurance marker. Seventeen seconds later.

“I’m lucky because the twins are such good players and were able to find me in shooting areas,” Burrows told the Vancouver Province. “That (Flyers) team is tough. They have two of the best players in the world (Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux) and they can make plays in the phone booth. We had to stick with it. Our start wasn’t as good as we wanted, but we want to play hard and play with passion.”

Burrows has 14 goals and 27 points in 57 contests this season. Although he obviously got some ice time with Daniel and Henrik Sedin last night, that hasn’t been his usual role in 2014-15. The Sedin twins have commonly played with Radim Vrbata, although lately they’ve been paired most frequently with Zack Kassian, but he wasn’t able to play Tuesday.

This was a key win for the Canucks as it allowed the squad to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack in the battle for a playoff spot:


Healthy Canucks make for ‘really tough’ lineup decisions

Toronto Maple Leafs v Vancouver Canucks

All of a sudden the Vancouver Canucks have a numbers problem.

With 24 healthy skaters (15 forwards and nine d-men) available for tonight’s home game versus the Flyers, coach Willie Desjardins is being forced to make some tough decisions.

“It’s really tough and that’s one of the strengths of our team right now and it’s kind of how we handle it,” Desjardins said yesterday, per The Province.

“It doesn’t matter who comes out, it’s going to be questioned because whoever I take out doesn’t deserve to come out. They’re all good players. If I say this guy is coming out, people will say: ‘Why him?'”

As of this afternoon, there was no word which forward would come out to make way for the expected return of Alex Burrows. Candidates include wingers Ronalds Kenins, Derek Dorsett, and Zack Kassian.


— Kenins provides a ton of energy and has developed some real chemistry in a bottom-six role with fellow rookie Bo Horvat.
— Dorsett, another bottom-six energy player, just had a 3-point night Saturday versus the Leafs.
— Kassian has been skating on the first line with the Sedins, and has five goals in his last 10 games.

For Desjardins, it’s one of those good problems to have.

“It could work for veterans, they could get a day’s rest and that could help because we have to give ourselves the best chance to win,” he said.