When the Buffalo Sabres traded top winger prospect Zack Kassian for the Vancouver Canucks' top center prospect Cody Hodgson, Sabres fans figured that he would eventually find himself in a top-six role on the team within a few months.
However, thanks to an NHL lockout and a hand injury, Hodgson hasn't seen much ice time since his short, underwhelming stint with the Sabres last season. On Saturday night, Hodgson returned to action after over a month of down time while he healed from a broken right hand. Though he didn't record a point, Hodgson felt good on the ice, according to the Rocherster Democrat & Chronicle:
Hodgson played for the first time since Nov. 2. He had missed 14 games with a broken bone in his hand. Roslton said "I thought Cody was really good."
Hodgson thought from a conditioning standpoint he felt pretty good but that from puck-possession/puck-handling standpoint he would have liked to have done more.
"I’ve got some work to do," he said.
Obviously, Hodgson's development will play a large role in the future of the Buffalo Sabres; he's part of a new young core expected to take this team back to the playoffs along with Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers, Brayden McNabb, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Zemgus Girgensons. For him to keep developing, he needs to stay on the ice. Both the Sabres and the struggling Amerks are counting on him to be a big part of their immediate futures.
Here's hoping that he can live up to those expectations for the rest of the season, lockout or not.