The Vancouver Canucks : Have They Lost All Hope in Cody Hodgson?
The Toronto, Ontario native looked to be a can't miss prospect after having an unbelievable breakout season with his Ontario Hockey League Club the Brampton Battalion in the 2008-09 season.
After a failed yet promising attempt to make the Canucks roster in September of 2008, Hodgson returned to Brampton hoping to improve his skills for a better shot at making the big club the following year. Hodgson did just that in a major way.
The Brampton Battalion captain went on to lead the Canadian Under-20 club to a 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa. Hodgson lead the tournament with 16 points and was named to the All-Star team.
Hodgson returned to his OHL team shorty, and took his play to another level. In just 53 games the Canuck prospect earned 92 points including 43 goals. He was named CHL Player of the Year, and quietly being mentioned as a can't-miss prospect. It seemed Vancouver might have got lucky at the draft for once, after numerous first-round busts in years pasts.
The following season, many believed Hodgson would make the jump to the NHL with the season he just posted in the minors, yet he failed to make a positive mark on the coaching staff which left him in the minors again. Hodgson again was denied a chance to play in the NHL and returned to Brampton for his final season.
The season unfortunately fell short for the captain of the Battalion due to a major back injury that was lingering Hodgson for months, followed up by a broken foot just months later. He only played 13 games yet earned 20 points .
Hodgson worked extremely hard during his rehab stage during the year of 2010. His desire for a full recovery was evident and for good measure had former NHL player Gary Roberts mentor him through the long process of rehab. He resumed skating in the summer, yet it was pretty clear the Vancouver Canucks were looking to move on from the once can't-miss prospect.
The Vancouver Canucks locked up arguably the best third line center in the NHL, Manny Malhotra to a three-year deal on July 1 of 2010. The signing brought major depth to the organization in the center position, but it also brought many to believe that the 2008-09 CHL Player of the Year was on his way out of Vancouver.
With no real shot at a top-three center spot in Vancouver during the 2010-11 season, Hodgson saw most of his playing time in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose. Hodgson did make his NHL debut during the month of February where he played just eight games on the fourth line getting around about six minutes a game. A role that clearly to the common eye, isn't a role Hodgson should be playing.
The Vancouver Canucks have again this offseason punctured the chances of Hodsgon making the roster in September by re-signing center Maxim Lapierre to a two-year deal and the injury-prone Marco Sturm to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. A signing that many believed was a sign that Hodgson is not in the teams agenda for next season.
With almost no room for Hodgson for a top-nine spot on the Canucks roster, it looks like his playing days in the organization could be over to.
Not only have the Canucks failed to develop such a promising prospect once again, but they have distinguished Hodgson's value for trade. As many don't really know where Hodgson is heading in his career in the NHL.
The handling over Hodgson's development have raised many eye brows across the National Hockey League. Not every team has a player that's been named CHL Player of the Year and a can't-miss prospect. For the Vancouver Canucks, having Hodgson became a blessing that hasn't panned out.
Yes, the back injury Hodgson suffered might have been the turning point in his attempt to make the Vancouver Canucks, but their hasn't been a true push from the organization to revamp the young Hodgson's career. A move many believe, might haunt the Canucks in years to come.
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