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Coming into the 2011-12 NHL season, forward Cody Hodgson has an amazing opportunity in front of him. With Ryan Kesler slated to miss approximately the first month of the season recovering from hip surgery, the second-line center spot has opened up. When the Canucks re-signed Maxim Lapierre it was thought that Hodgson was left with no spot on the team and would be subsequently traded away. With this gap in the lineup, Hodgson has a once in a lifetime chance to prove his worth to the Canucks.
In the past, Hodgson has suffered from back issues, which have stunted his development process. Last season, Hodgson played in just 20 games for the Canucks, than he has ever, but 12 of them came during the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In the playoffs, despite limited ice time, Hodgson did show signs of the brilliance upon which he was praised by Canucks management. Cody needs to find a consistency in order to improve the skills which he possesses. Hodgson is tremendously talented in the faceoff circle as well as defensively. It is his offensive game that has given him the most problems. His size and speed have hindered him in the AHL, and if he doesn't develop those facets of his game, he will continue to struggle with them in the NHL.
If Cody Hodgson does indeed start the season in that second line center role, he will be provided with an excellent opportunity to come into his own at the NHL level, and finally get the ice time he was drafted to get. Upon Kesler returning, if Hodgson has impressed the coaching staff and management, there will be that chance that he is kept up with the Canucks as a winger or a healthy scratch throughout the season.