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Vancouver Canucks: Are We Ready for Cody Hodgson?

Written on August 25, 2011 at 09:12, by HTTN

“Who cares about the future? We want to win now!”

This is the sentiment from so many Canucks fans whose only concern is winning a Stanley Cup here and now, with no thought to what will occur down the road.

Not much is happening, so we’re talking about Cody Hodgson these days, which is fine because he is going to be front and centre (or winger) as soon as the season begins.

As you are well aware, with the injuries to Kesler and Raymond, there will be holes to fill, and many are hoping to see Hodgson finally get a real chance with the Canucks.

Sure, he played 8 games last year, but the opportunity didn’t exactly promote instant success.

As Tony Gallagher wrote in his article in The Province yesterday:

He was thrust into a fourth-line role, which he accepted and did the best he could.

Yesterday morning on the Team 1040, Ray Ferraro echoed the sentiment, saying that the Hodgson’s situation last season was like forcing a square peg into a round hole.

When Did It All Change

hodgson5

A funny thing happened since Hodgson entered the NHL. Canucks fans went from being filled with apathy upon being told that Hodgson would play his first game – if you have forgotten, read this article for a flashback – to wanting him to play out the games near the end of the season and be relied upon in the playoffs. This sarcastic comment in a post by PITB sums it up:

Now, we want to call Cody Hodgson up for four more NHL games, then toss him into the playoff mix – where the hockey changes yet again – in a role for which he’s woefully unsuited?

Exactly. Hodgson had already played and shown what he could do on the 4th line, which was not much. The 4th line is no place for a skilled young player, especially one coming off injuries, and one who is still learning how to be responsible defensively.

Good fourth liners keep the puck out of their own end, dump and chase, and forecheck hard. They do not play a puck possession game or have any chance to be creative offensively.

I’m not saying that Canucks’ management did not have a sound plan. Mike Gillis said all along that he wanted Hodgson to be brought up for a stint with the Canucks to experience what it’s like to play with the big club. He stuck to his tune.

Yet, with 4 games remaining on the season, Manny Malhotra injured, and Kesler playing too many minutes in games that didn’t matter, the city was clamouring for Hodgson to play.

No heed was paid to the fact that should he play 10 games, the first year of his 3-year entry level deal would kick in.

Mike Gillis wisely held back. Down the road, that one extra year at a miniscule cap hit, and the money saved, will be worth far more than his playing 3 or 4 more games in a limited role.

Gillis has an eye to the future. He sees that once the Sedins’ and Kesler’s play has declined in 7 or 8 years, if he wants to mimic the consistency of the Red Wings – who were well equipped to continue after the Steve Yzerman era – Hodgson’s going to be the man leading the way.

Not yet ready to be a contributing NHLer in 2010-11, Hodgson was wisely held back. This season is a different story, however, and now we may finally watch the beginnings of the future of this team.

  • Wolnaht

    “No heed was paid to the fact that should he play 10 games, the first year of his 3-year entry level deal would kick in.”

    You might want to look into how that works. That only applies if he’s playing in the CHL, not the AHL.

  • Wolnaht

    “No heed was paid to the fact that should he play 10 games, the first year of his 3-year entry level deal would kick in.”

    You might want to look into how that works. That only applies if he’s playing in the CHL, not the AHL.

  • Anonymous

    I believe you are wrong about this.  The rule you’re thinking of is that after a junior aged player has played 10 NHL games, he may no longer be sent back to Juniors (CHL).  Similar rule. 

    The rule I’m speaking of applies to entry level contracts, like Hodgson’s 3-year deal and applies to AHL players as well.  Unless anyone can provide more information on this?

  • Millerdraft

    Sorry HTTN, you are the one mistaken.  Once a player on an ELC turns 20 he is no longer eligible for the “ELC slide” (in this cae your “10-game mark”).  Since CHL players cannot play in the AHL until they turn 20, this makes it a moot point.  Cody Hodgson turned 20 on February 18th, 2010 so his ELC would’ve burned a year this season even if he had been sent back for an overage season in Brampton, let alone playing in the NHL.

    The only thing we might have been wary of this past season was the 40-game mark which has ramifications on the 7-or-27 (7 years of 40 games played or 27 years of age) rule regarding unrestricted free agency (CoHo will be 26 years old on July 1st, 2016 and thus still an RFA).  This guy sums it up pretty well:

    What are rules governing junior hockey players in the NHL?

    Question: What are rules governing junior hockey players in the NHL?
    Once
    a player has been drafted what rules must the NHL club abide by with
    respect to where that player can play the following year(s)?- Doug, Ontario
    Answer: It
    can get complicated, but here are the basic rules governing junior
    hockey players (18 and 19-year-olds) in the NHL. There are three
    important deadlines to keep in mind:

    The start of the NHL season.
    A junior-aged player who is not signed to an NHL contract by this time
    must return to his junior team (the official deadline is usually a day
    or two before the opening games). That player is essentially gone for
    the year. He is not eligible to return to the NHL until his junior
    team’s season is over.

    The 10-game mark.
    A junior-aged player with a contract can play up to nine NHL games as a
    trial period. If he is returned to junior before the tenth game, his
    contract is effectively put on hold: when he goes to training camp the
    following season, he will be in the first year of his contract.
    Once the player appears in his tenth NHL game, his contract kicks in. He
    can still be returned to his junior club after that. But at season’s
    end, a full contract year will expire.

    The 40-game mark.
    This is when the clock starts ticking on a player’s free agent status.
    Under the 2005 collective agreement, a player are eligible for
    unrestricted free agency after seven years in the NHL. But if he returns
    to junior hockey before playing 40 NHL games, the season does not count
    as an “accrued season,” which means it doesn’t count towards free
    agency eligibility.
    So an 18-year-old rookie who plays at least 40 NHL games can become an
    unrestricted free agent at the age of 25. An 18-year-old who is returned
    to junior hockey before game 40 will not be eligible for free agency
    until he’s 26. (Assuming both go on to become NHL regulars every season
    after that.)

    Note also that a junior-aged player with an NHL contract cannot be sent
    to a minor pro league like the AHL unless he has already played four
    seasons of junior hockey. He must either stay on the NHL roster or
    return to junior.

    There are some exceptions, particularly for players arriving from
    Europe. Essentially, the rules are designed to protect junior hockey
    players and junior teams, ensuring that NHL clubs will retain only those
    teenagers who are ready for the big leagues.
    http://proicehockey.about.com/od/collegeandjuniorhockey/f/nhl_juniors.htm

  • Anonymous

    Wow.  There is a lot of false information out there on this.  Thought I had done my homework, but apparently not enough.  To find the truth, I downloaded the CBA myself and read the part that applies to Entry Level Contracts.

    To keep this short, this commenter is right.  The extension of the contract (or delay for it to kick in by a year) is only granted to players below the age of 20. 

    Thanks for making me delve deeper into that, both of you.

  • http://defli.me/ deflime

    So much for Coho leading the way in a few years.. weak.