With last Thursday’s matchup between the Canucks and Sabres, hockey talk in Vancouver was predictably buzzing with prognostications on the Cody Hodgson-Zack Kassian trade. And basically all of it waxed eloquent on how well Hodgson has been producing with Buffalo and how Kassian has not been producing at all, with the verdict being a slam dunk for Buffalo. . .though allowing for the possibility that Kassian might make up some of the lost ground as he develops.
My read of the data, however, gives a considerably different picture. Yes, the Kassian side of the ledger is admittedly meagre, but the Hodgson side is nowhere near as glowing as it has been made out to be. His 34 points in 48 games last season is often referenced in comparison to Kassian’s 11 in 39, but those 34 points must been considered in their context. Hodgson had the luxury of not only playing first-line minutes, but also, playing those minutes with one of last year’s most dynamic players: Thomas Vanek. In an injury-hampered season, Vanek produced 1.08 pts/game, whereas Hodgson managed only 0.71 pts/game. (In Kassian’s short 8-game stint as a first-liner at the beginning of last year, he was at 0.75 pts/game.) Further, it is interesting to note that Hodgson was able to string together back-to-back games with points only 6 times. And he was blanked in well over half of his games: 27 of 48 games.
Bottom line is that Hodgson is not as far ahead of Kassian as is usually assumed. And if Zack can ever actually get his game together, he could find himself ahead of Cody. . .and pulling away.