A day late to the party, but here are my thoughts...
I'm surprised Cody was traded at the deadline, but I'm not surprised in the least that he has been traded. It didn't take a genius to figure out he's an uneasy fit as skilled centre behind two of the best Centres in the league, who still have considerable time left in their careers. Cody's improved play and ability to step produce in big games made me think he'd stay through the playoffs, but my concern at the start of the year was the Cody's fit long-term and the lack of a solid checking line with Boot-Strap Malhotra and Lappy who is best suited for an energy role on the 4th or as a crashing winger on the 3rd line.
Judging by AV's comments the last few weeks, he was real concerned with not having a shutdown 3rd line, and hinted that it was an area the team might improve at the deadline. AV referenced the team's ability to throw out Manny's line against other top lines, which opened the Sedins and Kesler up to more favourable offensive match-ups. That all changed when Malhotra nearly lost an eye. Last year in the playoffs, Kesler's line had the shutdown duties, and more often than not the Twins were out against the 2nd line to keep from placing too much pressure on Lappy's line, which performed admirably all things considered.
With that in mind, I do not think the Canucks are worse off than they were before the deadline. What they lose in Cody's offensive production on the 3rd, they regain in having a true shutdown line (if Pahlsson is still up for the task), and theoretically, they should see a boost in offence from the top two lines. Also, I don't see Hansen, Higgins, or Raymond being totally shut-out offensively with Pahlsson down the middle. One thing Pahlsson excelled at in the playoffs is pressuring top lines, frustrating them, creating turnovers and creating chances in transition. If you look at the production Pahlsson's line had in 07, most of their points were scored in transition. Hansen, Raymond and Higgins are very strong two-way players who can create offence in transition, and come playoff time they may be more productive than most are currently projecting.
Adding Gragnani and Kassian as depth players also strengthens the team. We needed another capable depth defenseman who can play the right side, and preferably we would have liked either a "beast" or someone with offensive skills. Gragnani can play the right side, has PP skills, has tremendous passing skills and reads the offensive game fairly well. He's a guy I've kept an eye on for a little while and was very impressed with last year in the playoffs for the Sabres in the first round. Gragnani has had a tough year, but the entire team has been shit, and coming here he's more of a depth guy at the moment, albeit a potentially valuable one.
The other area the team needed help was adding a tough winger with size, and Kassian first that bill. At worst, he won't be much different than someone like Winnik who the Canucks apparently had interest in, and obviously Kassian has a very high ceiling.
So internally, the Canucks wanted to shore up the 3rd line defensively, add a gritty winger and another defenseman, and they scored high on all three.
As for the value the Canucks get in return for Cody...if you're trading your best young prospect, you either have to get top young talent in return, be it a top prospect or an established top young/fairly young player. Kassian is the Sabres top prospect and from all accounts, IS a can't miss player. Anyone who follows the Junior hockey, or at least the Mem Cup and the WHJC, will be familiar with Kassian and his potential. But as a straight up trade, I probably don't move Cody for Kassian unless he had a bigger NHL sample size, but adding Gragnani was enough to make a deal go through. Kassian absolutely has the chance to be a Lucic type forward and Gragnani has the potential to be an offensive top 4 d-man in the Ehrhoff hold. Even if Cody turns out to be the best player in the deal, the Canucks get the missing talented and nasty element that's a rarity in the NHL plus a top 4 d-man if it all goes to plan. Those two can end up being more valuable and fitting pieces for this team than just Cody.
But, the deal isn't without risk, and that's what makes it potentially troubling. It's incredibly difficult to project power forwards, and many a can't miss bruiser has gone the Brad Isbister or Alek Stojanov route. And while Gragnani's upside is Ehrhoff, his downside is Krajcek.
Time will only tell if the deal will be a win, but it has all the earmarks of being a perfect deal for a player that really didn't have a long-term fit on this team...largely due to the two guys in front of him, and possibly due to Cody and his family wanting more for him.
As it has been mentioned, Corey's likely trade (although I'd like to re-sign him) is very likely to bring back a high-end offensive prospect or young player like Cody, and the Hodgson trade addresses two big needs for the team: a young power forward and another young offensive d-man.