Getting To Know Your Newest Buffalo Sabre: Cody Hodgson
While many fans are likely sad to see their hero of the future, Zack Kassian, head west, all is not lost. Darcy Regier shrewdly turned the boasted bruiser into a top young center who happens to be having a good year. Don’t know much about this kid? Here you go:
Height/Weight: 6’0″ / 185 lbs
Birthplace: Haliburton, Ontario (about four hours north of Buffalo)
Birthday: February 18, 1990 (age 22)
Drafted: 1st round, 10th overall by Vancouver in 2008 NHL Draft
Junior club: Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Scouting report prior to being drafted:
NHL Director of Central Scouting, E.J. McGuire
Strengths: “Cody is a treat to watch. He is a very skilled centerman who’s hockey sense has him quarterbacking the power-play from down at the half boards. He knows when to shoot and when to pass – his point total reflects that. He’s also a good face-off guy; he can take face-offs with the best of them and win them at the OHL level. Quite an all-around asset to any team that draft’s him.”
Areas to improve: “With a little bit of continued maturity he will add a bit of size and strength to his frame and he won’t lose any of that hockey acumen or any of that ability to see the ice.”
Outlook: ”In the NHL he is going to be a skilled centerman and he’s going to be on one of your top two lines. If you’re a really good team you are fortunate to have him as your second centerman because he is capable of being your first centerman.”
Brampton Battalion head coach Stan Butler
“Cody’s a great two-way player for our team. He’s kind of one of those guys who goes under the radar. But when you see what he does for our hockey team as a 17-year-old, you gain a greater appreciation for him . . . he’s a game breaker. He’s made a difference everywhere he’s played, and those types of players are hard to get.”
What he’s done in the NHL:
2010-2011: 8GP 1G-1A-2P
2011 Playoffs: 12GP 0G-1A-1P
2011-2012: 63GP 16G-17A-33P
- Currently sits 5th among rookies with 33 points, eight behind league leader Adam Henrique of New Jersey.
- Tied with Philadelphia’s Matt Read for 2nd among rookies with 16 goals, two behind Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog.
- Five powerplay goals and two game winners with just eight penalty minutes.
- NHL Rookie of the Month for January 2012
- Participated in NHL All-Star Weekend with Team Chara (teammate of Luke Adam)
What people are saying about him:
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said Hodgson has gotten better as the season progresses, and predicted he will be a great NHL player. Sedin has also been impressed with Hodgson’s consistent play, and believes he is a strong candidate for top rookie honours.
“Nugent-Hopkins is hurt now,” said Sedin. “So I think it’s up for grabs. (Hodgson) is one of the guys that should be talked about.”
On the trade…
The Vancouver Canucks gave up skill for toughness when they traded Cody Hodgson to Buffalo, where he will be in a better position to succeed with the Sabres.
Initially, this looks like one of the most unpopular trades in Vancouver in years.
Hodgson, despite limited ice time and a difficult start with the Canucks organization, has become a rookie-of-the-year candidate and shown he has the skills to be a scorer in the National Hockey League. But that ice time, playing behind Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin, wasn’t going to improve anytime soon.
Tidbits you may or may not want to know:
- Won a gold medal playing for Team Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships, leading the tournament in scoring ahead of teammates John Tavares and Jordan Eberle. Also on the team: Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis
- Moved to Markham, Ontario at age 7. Played on the Markham Waxers with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
- Ranked 4th in The Hockey News’ 2010 edition of Future Watch. Dropped to 16th in THN’s 2011 list.