Blockbuster: Sabres get Cody Hodgson!

As the 3 PM deadline approached, many fans were on the ledge because the Sabres hadn’t made any trades yet. Late in the game, they moved Paul Gaustad to the Predators along with a 4th round pick in exchange for the Preds’ 1st rounder. Fans were naturally excited about getting a 1st round pick for Gaustad and seemed to be satisfied with how things unfolded given the lack of activity around the league (or at least that’s the sense I got based on my Twitter feed).

Then just after 3:00 when there were trades trickling in to end deadline day, Darcy Regier and the rest of the Sabres front office blew everyone away by dealing RW power forward prospect, Zack Kassian to Vancouver and received a young center in Cody Hodgson. There were a couple of other pieces in this deal too. Marc-Andre Gragnani is no longer a Sabre (Hooray!) and they received Alexander Sulzer to take his place as the #7 defenseman on the team, but I digress. Let’s discuss the two big pieces in this deal.

First off, I wish Kassian well in his new endeavors in Vancouver. Canucks fans should at least get some satisfaction knowing that he has the tools to develop into a Milan Lucic-type player. With that being said, I hope they don’t expect him to make a huge impact this season. He still has a lot of development to do and looks more like the next coming of Taylor Pyatt rather than Todd Bertuzzi’s successor at this point. As for the Sabres, they lose a guy that they drafted to provide size, skill, and toughness in their top-6. Based on his play and Marcus Foligno’s development, it seems like Regier saw it fit to dangle Kassian for a young, blooming center to help shore up the position. Overall, it was great asset management by the embattled Sabres’ GM, but they will still need to address the hole that was made by trading Kassian in the offseason.

With regard to the newest Buffalo Sabres player, Cody Hodgson is someone that many Canucks fans were really upset over losing. Some even seemed to think that he was going to be the next captain of the team down the line. What the Sabres are getting with this player is someone who is very talented offensively and sees the ice very well. His skating is pretty good. The acceleration could use some work, but his speed is fine once he gets going and he has the smarts to make up for any deficiencies there. As far as the other facets of Hodgson’s game are concerned, he’s got a fantastic shot  and has the pedigree from juniors to excel in his own end of the ice.

The only concern Sabres fans should have with Hodgson is the injury problems with his back. He seems to have overcome that and put those issues behind him though. Also, fans shouldn’t be penciling him in to play with Vanek and Pominville right away. Hodgson’s put up his numbers while playing behind Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler or in other words, he’s been going up against the other team’s 2nd and 3rd units at even-strength. Throwing him out there against the other team’s top units right now would be a huge mistake in my opinion. I think Lindy should keep the Ennis and Roy lines together for now and let Hodgson get acquainted with the Sabres’ system while giving him plenty of power play time.







Some other tidbits on Cody Hodgson:

-Cody just turned 22 on the 18th.

-He’s quite familiar with Tyler Ennis and Tyler Myers. They both played on the same gold-medal winning WJC team back in 2009.

-Speaking of Ennis and Myers, Hodgson came from the same draft class (2008, 10th overall pick) as those two. Luke Adam was also in that draft.

-Hodgson trains in Gary Roberts’ program in the offseason. Definitely a good sign that he’s dedicated.

-He’s going to wear #12 for the Sabres.

Hodgson’s Stats:

2010-11: 8 GP 1 G, 1 A, 2 Pts

2011 Playoffs: 12 GP 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pts
2011-12: 63 GP, 16 G, 17 A, 33 Pts