We have a trade to announce: Canucks get Kassian, Gragnani; Sabres get Hodgson, Sulzer

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Boring trade deadline, you say? Wrong. The Canucks and Sabres pulled off a big deal right at the buzzer – forward Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer go to Buffalo in return for forward Zach Kassian and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Hodgson, 22, is a talented center that’s in the midst of a breakout season with the Canucks (16G, 17A.) He can put the puck in the net and he can make plays. However, with Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler locking down the top two center spots, it was tough to find him the kind of quality ice time he needs.

Kassian, 21, is a big, tough power forward, i.e. the kind of player the Canucks have been looking for. He’s not the player Hodgson is today, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis is taking a big risk in that regard.

Gragnani, a 24-year-old offensive defenseman, should fit in well on a Vancouver team that uses its back end to create offense. He could be the wildcard in this deal.