Hodgson Outlook

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Hodgson Outlook

Post by CrzyCanuck » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:22 am

Hello guys. Just another refugee trying to fit into a new environment here (but oddly I'm seeing lots of old faces?)

GMMG's moves so far shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. Sturm to fill-in for that useless all-speed-but-nothing Mason Raymond, Higgins was retained for his versatility and Lapierre for his effectiveness in the bottom two lines. The other signings are depth moves for the farm team.

Now what concerns me is the future outlook of Cody Hodgson, who was once a highly coveted rookie but now might have problem finding a spot as a center on this team in the near future.

Here's a breakdown of our current centers contract situation:

H.Sedin: 6.1million with NTC until 2013/14 season.
R. Kesler: 5 million with NTC until 2015/16 season.
M. Malhotra: 2.5 million with NTC until 2012/13 season.
M. Lapierre: 1 million until 2012/13 season.

Top 3 centers are here to stay for at least another two years. Granted Hodgson is still fairly young at age 21, but it is widely believed that he should start his training in the NHL come next season. But with all 4 centers taking up the spots for at least two more seasons, where will Hodgson fit? The above mentioned 4 centers all have above average faceoff skills and are perfectly comfortable in this position. Sedin and Kesler shouldn't be brought into discussion because that's not where Hodgson will be playing. So do we ask Malhotra to shift over to wing and thereby sacrificing some of his effectiveness at center? Or do we plant Hodgson on the plugger line so he can try to gain experience in very limited ice time?
Another issue would be if we do plant Hodgson either on the 3rd line or the 4th line with limited ice-time, can he successfully escape from AV's doghouse? Hodgson is not a AV-type plugger. Currently He lacks the size and speed to play as an effective checker on the 3rd line and playing with other pluggers on the 4th line is not going to do him any good either.
Just how the Canucks management decides to groom him is going to be interesting come this season.

Then perhaps they should try to convert him to a winger? whereby he can be allowed to learn the game at his own pace. However; as it has been mentioned already, he doesn't have the size we need on the 3rd line and it is fairly uncertain whether AV will give Hodgson enough chances. And Hodgson's natural position is center, we know how scarce a good young center is nowadays.

Some have suggested to put Hodgson alongside Malhotra the next season or have Malhotra shift over to LW so in any case it'll secure Hodgson's guaranteed ice-time. And have Hodgson run the 2nd PP unit since the Canucks desperate need someone who can set up the 2nd PP. I think this is a very good idea but once again, this really depends on AV.

Our dominance in the offensive statistics from the past two seasons have shown that we can afford to groom a rookie on the 2nd PP and honestly, of the current line-up who hasn't been tried at 2nd PP center? This cannot be a better chance for Hodgson.

But should MG acquire any more size/grit player for the bottom two lines, or a top 6 winger via trade, I simply cannot imagine Hodgson playing in the NHL next season.

So perhaps Hodgson should suck it up and try to tear up the AHL next season while awaiting call-ups. Afterall, barring any major trade, there will be two center spots opening in two years (with Sedin and Malhotra's contract expiring).
Though I do see us extending the Sedins so perhaps in two years our top 3 centers will be like:

That is, provided Hodgson is growing as expected.

What do you think?
1) 3rd line center and 2nd PP center;
2) 3rd line winger and 2nd PP center;
3) 4th line scrub earning limited experience; or
4) one more year in the AHL but on calls.
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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Fred » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:52 am

It's a predicament all right. Fueled largely by the promotion he was given and hence the greater expectations by the fans. Since leaving junior he hasn't really shown a lot. In the games I've seen him play I can't recall a moment when he brought you out of your chair. Now i know folks are going to revert back to the "well he was injured" but how long can that be valid. I'd like to see him turn out to be the players we were all but promised. I think he'll have to move to the wing to get a roster spot, but he's not big and he's not fast ( some are saying he doesn't have NHL speed) for the down low coverage I'd rather have Malhotra than Hodgson. If we could identify where he excels it would help. MG I think might need to listen to any offers ? be it wing or centre we have better players then Hodgson. I also get the impression he had the idea he was simply going to stroll in to town and be given a spot ?

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by coco_canuck » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:01 am

Not only is his fit here questionable, so is his overall NHL potential.

He's still young, has a good shot, good playmaking skills and hockey smarts, but since he's not very big, he needs more explosiveness to reach his potential, and right now he doesn't have it.

Cody probably still has some decent trade value, and if I'm Gillis, that's who I'm dangling in a package to get the type of forward or D-man we're looking for.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Topper » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:16 am

As the refugees know, I have long seen the challenges in Cody's game. While true, he is a smart player, it is also true he can not skate. Yes he has been injured, but he has also spent an inordinate amount of time with skating coaches and still has no stride.

If he is to have any sort of an NHL career, he needs to work his thinking game to stay in the league. Unfortunately, what I have seen to date from him are nothing more than plays he can get away with in the OHL and AHL, but NHL defenders are smarter and quicker. he is a boy among men at the NHL level. A small, slow boy.

I'm not sure he'll make the adjustments and I'd prefer to cut bait while there is still life in the worm and possibility of upside.
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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by rockalt » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:40 am

Hey CrzyCanuck, did you used to post on the ESPN boards ages ago? Maybe it's just a common handle, but the name looks familiar.

I haven't seen enough of Hodgson to have a strong feel whether he'll be able to transition to the wing. My hunch is that he will struggle due to his lack of foot speed.

I'm in agreement that his real opportunity will come in manning the 2nd PP, where speed isn't as much of an issue giving us a better idea of his creativity and offensive potential.

I'm not too fussed about having 4 centres under contract. For one, Lapierre far exceeded my (and most I'm sure) expectations and I was very keen to see him under contract again. Not to mention that he strikes me as someone who could just as easily transition to the wing. Though, considering he's pencilled in for the 4th line, I'm thinking he's a more desirable option than Hodgson on that line.

The other concern of course is the play of Malhotra. I think out of anyone, you keep him slotted on the 3rd line centre slot due to his faceoff skill. He's a huge wildcard though, given how devastating the injury was. I wouldn't be surprised to see him demoted to the 4th line early in the year.

Finally we have the option of moving Kesler to RW and bumping Cody to the 2nd line slot. Obviously he'd need to be mighty impressive to even warrant consideration of such a move. Kesler could transition to a high-scoring winger and still play centre on the PK.

We'll see how it plays out. It's not ideal for him in his attempts to make the lineup but I'd rather have the 4 centres locked up than reserving the 3rd spot for someone who might not even be capable!

Whatever the case, I'm not very sold on that 2nd line, so believe there's plenty of opportunity for Hodgson if he's up for it. Should make for an interesting training camp.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by West Coast Jets Fan » Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:53 pm

I think that this is a make or break camp and start to the season for Hodgson....if he gets that far.

The window of "greatness" for the Canucks seems to be another 2, 3 years max with our current lineup. Unless GMMG can pry guys like Parise or Weber away (unlikely) with out selling the farm, a kid like Hodgson is going to have to come out and really show something.

My biggest concern is that we hang on to him and he never does come out of his lack of skating shell. He's almost like the Anti Nuke LaLoosh, million dollar arm/5 cent head. Cody has the million dollar melon and 5 cent skates.

If GMMG is going to pull the trigger on a big name this off season, I would rather him move Hodgson than say Hansen or Burrows as mentioned in a different thread.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Captain Kirk » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:10 pm

I don't see Gillis moving Burrows - Hansen on the other hand is a valuable asset that wouldn't disrupt our lineup for the most part. If he's part of a return for a big top-6 winger I say do it.

That being said, I think Hodgson needs to have time sooner or later up with the big boys in order to take his game to another level. However, it was only his first season in the AHL this past year. We've seen teams like Detroit give their prospects the appropriate amount of time in the AHL to develop so that they can seamlessly make the jump to the NHL level later on. In my opinion, it wouldn't be bad for Hodgson to have another full year in the AHL. Let's see him put up 75+ points and be a leader on the team. I don't think this year is make or break for his career with the Canucks. I think it would be the 2012.13 season training camp.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Strangelove » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:57 pm

I agree with Kirk that Cody needs a full season in the AHL at this point. He's simply not ready for the NHL yet.

I see him developing into a solid NHL #2 playmaking centre eventually.

If I'm right... and if he's still here... eventually Kess moves over to the wing??

If by some miracle he earns a spot THIS season, I'd say it's 3rd line centre (Manny moves over to wing).

But I get the feeling that right now Gillis & AV have him penciled in as a Wolf.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by black ace » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:59 pm

I think his only chance to make this team this season would be on the wing. With Raymond out there is a spot available on the 2nd line but more likely a 3rd line spot should be a target for Hodgson.

IMO if he doesnt make the team out of camp I really wonder if he will achieve the level many thought he would. At 21or 22 I wouldnt give up on him but at some point he needs to show something.
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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Topper » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:22 pm

black ace wrote:I think his only chance to make this team this season would be on the wing. With Raymond out there is a spot available on the 2nd line but more likely a 3rd line spot should be a target for Hodgson.
With his speed, he'll trail our D on the rush.
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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by tantalum » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:55 pm

His speed isn't great but in the playoffs it wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered. Perhaps that was simply because he had all his feeling back in his legs. Regardless, I think Hodgson showed in the playoffs that he was close to being an NHL player.

A good hard summer of training and he may take another step or two and really push for a spot on the team. As mentioned, it will likely have to be on the wing or dependent on an injury to a center.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Topper » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:25 pm

Tant, I got the exact opposite opinion watching Cody in the playoffs. I was wholly disappointed in his play. I had an open mind and was hopefull he would show some glimmer of NHL calibre play. I never saw it.

The playoffs had me leaning more towards career AHL'r and thinking we best get some return for him while there is still an illusion of upside.
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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by BladesofSteel » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:33 am

I'm with Tant here.

I noticed an improvement on his skating in the post-season, but I'm not gonna spout off and suggest he had a good playoff. To be fair, his shifts lasted about 17 seconds and he skated between Vic and Fanner ffs. The kid has terrific hockey sense and puck distribution skills that will catch up to NHL caliber. Where he will shine is with skilled two-way players on his flank, in particular on the PP.

If he doesn't come out guns a blazin' in Sept, he's gotta start the season on the Farm playing top six minutes. It's still way too early to write the kid off, or suggest dealing him for help in other areas.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by dbr » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:48 am

Depends on the deal.

The window is open right now.. I for one wouldn't shed too many tears if this team was down one young center and up one Stanley Cup this time next year.

But if that deal doesn't come up, I'm happy to let Silent G spend a year in the AHL working on his skating.

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Re: Hodgson Outlook

Post by Tiger » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:33 am

Welcome refugees from Central.. and yes Rockalt .. 8 years ago both you and CrzyCanuck were on ESPN board ( when I was Mikodat)..
Hodgson proved very little in the playoffs but was a tad faster than on his previous appearances..
If ( and its a big IF ) his skating has improved why not give him a shot at Raymonds winger position ? At the very least he's got the smarts and will go to the net.. both attributes that Raymond is missing ..
If it hasn't improved.. AHL might be the answer.. or trade bait? Both Manny and Lapierre are ahead of him at the center position and I cant see him replacing either in the near future.
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