Canucks fill the middle with Hodgson
| OTTAWA – The Canucks filled a need for a skilled center on Friday at Scotiabank Place when they selected Cody Hodgson from the Brampton Batallion with the 10th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.
With the recent retirement of Trevor Linden and Brendan Morrison battling the injury bug, the Canucks sorely needed a No. 2 center. Mission accomplished.
"Cody is a treat to watch. He is a very skilled centerman whose hockey sense has him quarterbacking the power play from down at the half boards,” said E.J. McGuire, NHL Director of Central Scouting. “He knows when to shoot and when to pass – his point total reflects that. He’s also a good face-off guy; he can take face-offs with the best of them and win them at the OHL level. Quite an all-around asset to any team that drafts him."
The Markham, Ontario, native joins the Vancouver organization after yet another tremendous season in Brampton. In his second season with the club, Hodgson tallied 85 points (40 goals, 45 assists) in just 68 games.
Brampton’s coach Stan Butler said that numbers and offensive production are just a small part of the overall story.
“Cody’s a great two-way player for our team,” Butler said. “He’s kind of one of those guys who goes under the radar. But when you see what he does for our hockey team as a 17-year-old, you gain a greater appreciation for him . . . he’s a game breaker. He’s made a difference everywhere he’s played, and those types of players are hard to get."
All of those attributes jumped out for the Canucks front office.
"Character, integrity; he's been a winner all the way up," said general manager Mike Gillis.
"The captain of the (Canada’s) under-18 team with a long-time NHL coach (Pat Quinn). We felt he was the best player at that tournament. He has a lot of great features, we're really pleased."
Being a top-10 selection in what many believe to be a very deep draft, combined with the chance to one day play in a hockey-crazed city like Vancouver, made it a very special night for Hodgson.
“They have great fans there. It’s a great city,” Hodgson said of his new home. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Fans in Vancouver will be happy to know who Hodgson patterns his game after. But scoring goals isn’t Hodgson’s only priority.
“I try to play as much like Sidney Crosby as possible. It works for him,” Hodgson joked. “I try to play a smart, offensive game and create chances for my teammates and I. But at the same time, I try not to be a defensive liability.”
Hodgson said he entered Scotiabank Place unaware of when or where he would go, but is extremely pleased with how things unfolded. After all, it’s not everyday you get to be a top-10 selection in the NHL Entry Draft.
“I talked to a few teams at the combine,” Hodgson said. “I never really knew where I was going to go, but it worked out for the best.”
Gillis said that Hodgson scored well in interviews with team personnel. "Absolutely. He was really polished," said Gillis. "He was thinking about the game in a lot of different ways. It was very positive."
All that’s left now is for Hodgson to play in his first NHL game. He’s hoping that happens as soon as this October.
“I’m going to try my best, but that’s obviously up to the coaching staff and the team,” Hodgson said. “I’m going to work my hardest over the summer and try to make the team.”
Canucks fans can look forward to a player that will contribute on one of the top two lines.
“In the NHL he is going to be a skilled centerman and he’s going to be on one of your top two lines,” Maguire said. “If you’re a really good team you are fortunate to have him as your second centerman because he is capable of being your first centerman."
40 – Goals in 68 games in 2007-08
45 – Assists in 68 games this season
18 – Years of age