2014 Buffalo Sabres Player Profile: Cody Hodgson

Sabres camp officially opened to the public yesterday and will be continuing throughout the next couple weeks.  As I sat there watching, nobody stuck out (predictably).  It takes a man with a long history and knowledge of the game to pinpoint tiny details that differentiate players.  I thought of topics to write about; Something that would hold the interest of readers rather than a simple wrap-up of what occurred.

As young talent continues to build, it will be interesting to see what “veterans” survive the rebuild.  On February 27th 2012, Darcy Regier made a winning trade when he acquired Cody Hodgson and Alex Sulzer for Zach Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani.  Sulzer provided multiple years of surprisingly solid defense while Hodgson has put together strong offensive seasons.  Kassian, unfortunately has never panned out.  

 

                                                                Hodgson warming up for the Buffalo Sabres

                                                                Hodgson warming up for the Buffalo Sabres

Age: 24

Position: C-W

Likely to play Winger from now on

 

Hodgson put up a respectable 34 points in the 2012-13 lockout season that shortened the Hodgson's season to 48 games.  Rewarded for his play and hard work, Regier handed the young center-man a 6 year $25 million dollar deal before the start of last season.  Through scrutinized for his consistent, poor defensive play, Hodgson finished second in Sabres scoring as he added 20 goals and 24 assists in 72 games played.  As Ted Nolan took over the helm midway through last season, Cody was moved over to the wing position.  With the move, Hodgson was less of a defensive liability and was able to focus more on his offensive game.

 “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.” Nolan said last season.

As the 2014 season approaches, it is clear that depth is not an issue at the Center position, making the move for Hodgson more practical.  Hodgson will have a full camp under his belt at the wing position and I do not expect any more growing pains at the position.  I believe Hodgson to have his best season to date.  Besides the positional change, Hodgson is entering the second year of his contract with less pressure than the first.  There are many different storylines that fans and media will follow such as Sam Reinhart and Mikhail Grigorenko.  I think this is the year that Hodgson proves to be a productive second line player.  Expect him to score 25 or more goals.