Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Kesler to Miss Start of Season; Cody Hodgson: Your Time is NOW

The Canucks announced on Tuesday that Ryan Kesler underwent hip surgery and will be out 10-12 weeks, meaning that he’ll likely start the season in November. It’s interesting that they waited until August to do the surgery. Perhaps they were waiting to see if his hip would get better without surgery (as they claim) or perhaps there’s something sneakier going on. Is it possible that the Canucks purposely chose to have Ryan Kesler have surgery late in the summer, meaning that he would miss a month of the regular season while he recovers, thus saving precious cap space? Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but it’s certainly plausible. Having Sami Salo injured for more than half a season last year was of great reward to the Canucks, because they were able to save on the cap while still getting Salo back for the playoffs.

If Ryan Kesler misses one month or more of the regular season, the Canucks could save about $1 million off of their cap. But who would fill-in for Kesler during his absence?

Enter Cody Hodgson. The prized prospect of the Canucks organization will be hard pressed to make this team. He’s a natural centre and Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra aren’t going anywhere. Max Lapierre is also a lock to be the fourth line centre. So where does that leave Hodgson? Sure, he could try to make the team as a winger, playing on one of the top three lines, but even that would be tough. With Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson, Jannik Hansen, Marco Sturm and Chris Higgins, the Canucks have all the wingers they need for their top 3 lines. And that list doesn’t include Mason Raymond, who will likely return sometime in December.

Whether or not Hodgson is ready to play on the Canucks second line is up for debate, but he might not be as far away as some think. There’s a perception that Hodgson has been a major disappointment, and that simply isn’t true. What has been disappointing is his luck with injuries. If you look at Hodgson’s stats, it reads of a remarkable junior career and one year of pro hockey. His numbers were not draw dropping in the AHL last season (30 points in 52 games), but he was leading the Moose in scoring until he suffered a broken orbital bone. He had just 2 points in 8 regular season games with the Canucks and only 1 point in 12 playoff games, but that can hardly be seen as a disappointment. With rare exception, Hodgson had no skilled players to play with, and received very little playing time on the fourth line. Clearly, his role was to play it safe and be responsible defensively (which he accomplished).

So an injury to Ryan Kesler offers the perfect chance for Cody Hodgson to get a chance to play significant and meaningful minutes with the Canucks. Barring another long term injury to Henrik Sedin or Ryan Kesler, Cody Hodgson likely won’t get another chance like this. So whether it was by design or not, Cody Hodgson: your time is NOW. This will be your best chance to become a full-time NHL player.

Related Posts

4 Response to Kesler to Miss Start of Season; Cody Hodgson: Your Time is NOW

  1. mickey on August 2, 2011

    Do you think Jordan Schroeder will get his chance this season?

  2. Robert Williams on August 3, 2011

    Will he get a chance? Sure. But I don't think he's close to being ready yet. He only had 10 goals in the AHL last year, apparently a disappointing year.

  3. ClunyGuest on August 17, 2011

    I was under the impression that the cap savings from injured players could only be used during the period that they miss. For example, the Canucks could replace Kesler's salary while he recovers, but wouldn't amass a "bank" of savings to be used against the annual salary cap. It seems that the reason the Salo injury was so beneficial to the team last year had to do with timing – by the time he came back Edler, IIRC, had gone down with injury and Salo's salary essentially replaced his until he returned, by which time Malhotra had gone down. This allowed the team to juggle salary on a roster that was significantly over the cap. Unless the Canucks were planning to exceed the cap in the first month of the season, and use the Kesler injury to fit everyone in, I'm not sure that there is any benefit, salary-cap-wise, to Kesler missing time. Of course, I could be wrong. n nOn another note, I agree that this represents a golden opportunity for Hodgson to audition, centering the second line, and I hope he takes advantage!

    • Robert Williams on August 19, 2011

      More or less (there may be some finer details that I'm not 100% on) you get pro-rated cap relief if a player goes on long term injury reserve (ie. 10+ games). So if Kesler misses 1/4 of the season, then only 3/4 of his salary his is counted against the cap. So if we used that example, the Canucks would save 1/4 of Kesler's $5 million salary… so $1.25 million. That money can be used for his fill-in while he's away (ie. Hodgson), but Hodgson is cheaper so they'll still have money leftover. That extra cash could be used to acquire someone at the trade deadline.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.