I have been reading a lot about the Hodgson trade and how the Nucks sheltered him to pump up his value, etc... but it all seems like noise to me. If he produced when given the chance isn't that a good thing? I really like Kassian and love the idea of players that can skate and have size but to diminish Hodgson because he produced when given the chance seems inapposite. He seemed to do a pretty good job for Buffalo and I imagine given 20 min. a game and PP time he is going to do some good stuff for them next year - seems like a Derek Stepan type player to me, even if he is not the re-incarnation of Steve Yzerman. Other players have left the Canucks and have fit in nicely on new teams, Grabner, Pyatt, Bernier, Samuleson, O'Brien ... I think some attention should be paid to the idea that you have to make the system work around the players you have.
The big thing for me when looking at this team is how much it hurt them to have a diminished Malhotra. If Manny could have been the guy they signed initially there is no telling how good this team could be. A big, physical centerman that can take pressure off Kesler and check the opposing teams top line is a commodity the Canucks desperately need. Hopefully he can get back to his old form, but if not, they will have to find some way to keep Kesler from playing too many minutes and absorbing too much punishment, something the old Manny could do.