Will we be seeing Cody Hodgson in Canuck blue this season or will the people of Brampton be seeing him back in one of those snazzy green Brampton Battalion jerseys? That’s the decision that Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault are trying to make and fans of the Canucks are debating. Yesterday I theorized that Hodgson would be sent back to junior.
I thought that until I read this from Vigneault: “One thing I firmly believe is talent has no age,” Vigneault said. “Talent helps a player improve and improve quicker. If we start with a player that might be 10 or 15 per cent behind somebody else at this time, but because his skill set is better … he might become by Christmas a better player than what we have here, we’d have to consider that in the equation.”
To me, this is an indication that they will make excuses for Hodgson’s play. Look for them to insert Hodgson for at least the 9 games (the cut-off point for junior players able to return to junior and not count towards the cap). They will do this with the thought that as Hodgson’s back gets better and he gets more comfortable, he’ll be full marks for his NHL job. While this may be a perfectly legitimate viewpoint to have, I don’t think they should give Hodgson a job unless he really deserves 15 minutes of ice time a night. To do that, he’ll have to supplant himself into the top 9 forwards on the team. That list currently includes: both Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Samuelsson, Wellwood, Bernier, Raymond and the injured Pavol Demitra. So then it becomes a case of who deserves the spot more, Shirokov or Hodgson. If you want to keep both (even with Demitra’s injury), then you will have to put one of your defencemen or Jannik Hansen on waivers, for which they will likely be lost. The other scenario is that Gillis pulls the trigger on a trade to open up space.
Hodgson will get a great chance to show what he’s got tonight against the Sharks when he lines up with Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler. If he doesn’t show he really belongs, then I think he should spend another year in junior.