In a previous post (read here), I went over some of the reasons why I thought that Steve Ott should not be captain of the Sabres (there was a push for him to be captain after the Pominville trade). I thought it would only be appropriate to have a young captain lead the youngest team in the NHL. I know you have been anxiously awaiting this follow up post to see who I would name as the next Buffalo Sabres captain. Be sure to add in your two cents in the poll at the bottom. Get excited!!!
Starting in the 2013-2014 the new Buffalo Sabres captain should be…John Scott…just kidding. In all seriousness, I think the new captain should be Cody Hodgson. Go ahead, bring on the criticism… he is way too young, he has barely been a Sabre, hasn’t 100% proven himself, blah, blah, blah. By the end of this post, I hope I turn your thoughts around (if you disagree with me).
Hodgson came to the Buffalo Sabres via the trade deadline in the 2011-2012 season, while Buffalo sent Zack Kassian to Vancouver (Marc-Andre Gragnani and Alexander Sulzer were also involved in the deal). I think we can all agree that the Sabres made out like bandits in that trade (so far). When CoHo first laced up with the Blue and Gold, I was a little bit nervous, there were definitely times when he looked completely lost out on the ice. I was looking for a bigger impact out of him right away, and was somewhat disappointed with his production (8 pts in 20 games).
During this last season, I saw a completely different CoHo. I think that he was a pleasant surprise on the first line and held his own. The Sabres first line was far from the best line in the NHL, but CoHo as the center for Vanek and Pominville boasts some pretty good talent and balance. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of room for improvement, individually, and as a line. However, at 23 CoHo has great skill and will continue to get better and better, especially with other young talent rising through the ranks to flank him.
Stats… Hodgson was ranked second among points (34) for the Sabres this year, not including Pominville. If you include Pominville (and the points he scored as a Sabre and as part of the Wild), they would have the same amount of points. Tyler Ennis was a close third with 31 points, and of course Thomas Vanek lead the team with 41 points. I know the captain doesn’t have to lead the team in points, but they should be a regular contributor, and I think Coho will be just that for years to come.
I don’t know the dynamic in the locker room, who speaks up, who calls out other players for slacking, or how each player acts with their teammates. I also don’t know Cody Hodgson personally (too bad, we could be best buds), but I do think that given the opportunity, he would not take it lightly. He was barely known in Vancouver, and now he could grab Buffalo by its horns and lead the team.
Now with that being said, I think naming Ott an assistant captain was the right move. Ott would be a great assistant, and he could help usher in the new captain and have their back in the locker room (and on the ice). Unfortunately for Ott, I don’t want him representing the Sabres as captain. Fortunately for Ott, I will not actually be naming the captain.
One last thing I would like to mention, the uncertainty of this offseason is going to be a major factor in naming the next captain. Obviously the team could wait all summer and announce it just before the season starts (hopefully Rolston takes his time). By the beginning of next season we could see a completely different roster (at least that is what I am hoping for). So we will have to wait and see, in the meantime…