Rewind your memory to three years ago from today, when Buffalo made a big trade with Vancouver to acquire Cody Hodgson. On February 27th, 2012, the Sabres traded Marc-Andre Gragnani and Zack Kassian to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Alexander Sulzer and Cody Hodgson.
Hodgson, a first round (10th overall) pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft was coming off a breakout season. After playing only eight NHL games prior, Hodgson recorded 16 goals and 17 assists in 63 games for the Canucks during his rookie campaign.
Fast forward to this season and you’ll notice (or most likely not notice) Hodgson’s performance on the ice. He’s been struggling mightily and has a mere nine points (three goals, six assists) in 58 games played this season.
“I still think I have confidence in my abilities to do what I need to do on the ice, making plays, getting shots on net, generating offense,” Hodgson said. “It just comes back to the ability to do that, and I still think I have it.”
The acquisition of Hodgson was a big surprise to many and was someone that would be able to play on the top line. He continued to put up respectable numbers after his arrival to Buffalo, scoring 34 points in the shortened season, followed by a 20 goal year along with 24 assists.
Hodgson came in under head coach Lindy Ruff and played on the first line and earning minutes on special teams as well.
After the coaching change, Ted Nolan said he thought it may help if Hodgson were to play wing instead of center.
“We want to see where he best fits with the team moving forward,” Nolan told Buffalo Hockey Beat. “Maybe he’s a better winger. Also, you have to get him with the right people, get him the puck because once Cody has the puck within a certain footage of that net, he has a good chance of putting it in.
“He’s not known for his great defense, and we don’t want him to play great defense. We want him to score offensively. But you have to be reliable defensively. One thing about the wing position, it’s not as complicated as playing center ice.”
All of this comes after the fact that former General Manager Darcy Regier stated that Hodgson was strong on both offense and defense.
“He brings very solid two-way play,” Regier said. “And as we started to go through the process of where we are going to get centermen going forward, it became a priority.”
Even for a team that is having one of its’ worst seasons in franchise history, Hodgson has vastly underachieved and needs to show up for the remainder of the season. At this rate, he’s on pace for a total of 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in basically a full season.
“Sometimes you overwork too and you over-think. Cody’s a real good player,” head coach Ted Nolan said. “He’s got some really good hands and he can score some goals, but unfortunately they’re not happening right now.
Hodgson is still young as he just turned 25 on the 18th of February. The potential is still there but this type of season is concerning. Will we see Hodgson bounce back from this and when? Comment below with your thoughts.