Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #2 - Cody Hodgson
The Sabres leading scorer last season is locked up to a big contract for the next five years.
Position: Center (but likely wing in the future)
Weight: 192 lbs.
2013-14 team: Buffalo
Acquired: Traded along with Alexander Sulzer from the Canucks for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani
Last year's ranking: 1
Despite all of his defensive deficiencies, Cody Hodgson had a season where he led the Sabres in points. That's not saying as much this year as some others in the past, but it still makes him one of the top forwards with the Sabres.
When the Sabres acquired Hodgson at the deadline two years ago, it was one of the biggest trades of the day. Looking back on it, it's clear that the Sabres ended up getting the better end of the deal. Hodgson is heavily out-producing Kassian statistically, and the Sabres even got a few years out of Alex Sulzer instead of the half a season Vancouver had Gragnani.
Of course that doesn't mean that Hodgson is without his flaws. His defensive abilities have been heavily questioned, but the Sabres seem to have found a way to mask that. Formally considered one of the Sabres top centers, Hodgson will see much more playing time on the wing this season. It puts less responsibility on him and makes sense for the general future plan of the roster. The Sabres have a bulk of young centers, with Tyler Ennis, Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons, and Mikhail Grigorenko (even before mentioning next year's pick) it would probably make sense for Hodgson to move to wing even without the defensive issues.
Where does Hodgson end up on the Sabres roster of the future? That's still up in the air. But after moving to wing he's reignited hope that he can be a valuable member of the roster. Put him on a line with a center with stronger defensive abilities, like Girgensons for example, and Hodgson can excel.
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