April 23, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Steve Ott (9) handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Buffalo Sabres won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Three Months Later, Still No John Hancock.

Along with a defensive-heavy draft, the finalization of a head coach, and the attempt to resurrect the defense, the Buffalo Sabres have still not locked up one of their best forwards, Cody Hodgson.

That worries me……..a lot.

April 17, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson (19) faces off against Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly (23) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

If the team fails to re-sign who is without a doubt our best center aside from Steve Ott, then some team will gladly pick him up and continue to reap the benefits he has to offer.

The 23-year old Hodgson, who showed us last year just what he is capable of, has been sitting in free agency much longer than I am personally comfortable with.

Since being with the Sabres, Hodgson’s number’s have gone up. Since his debut with the Vancouver Canucks, Hodgson has scored 35 goals, 42 assists, totaling 77 points in 139 career NHL games.

Despite whatever is going on with the whole Thomas Vanek drama, it is clear that Hodgson and Vanek were definitely a dynamic duo, spending the majority of the time on the same line, helping each other this entire season.

The center, who played in all 48 of last years games, is still a restricted free agent, so if he were to go, we would receive a draft pick or something in return. But if Darcy Regier let’s him go to get another draft pick, I will be furious. We can’t afford to lose someone who is just entering his prime and let him walk on to another team who will take him and use him to their full advantage.

Flashback to 2007. Do I even need to mention names? That was a nightmare, and the Sabres just haven’t been the same since. Ever since we let Drury and Briere walk out of Buffalo, fans constantly scream and shout about the lack of scoring. This is why!

Now I know Drury only had a few years left, and Briere played out his time in Philadelphia, moving to Montreal, where he will most likely retire, maybe signing a one day contract with us to retire a Sabre.

That being said, Darcy Regier, SIGN HODGSON.

Being in this rebuild, you can never be certain if one player or the next will be a part of the teams short or long term plans. But if there should be one exception, it should be him. 110%

Hodgson was second among rookies last season and ranked 33 with 380 wins in the faceoff circle last year. But that still needs to get better. Granted a bit of stage fright may have occurred going from just another name in Vancouver on his way up, to going to our number 1 center all in a matter of months. A lot to take on so quickly and young.

With centers like Steve Ott, who will most likely don the “C” this season, and Grigo about to blow up, maybe CoHo can start to take a load off and focus on his game, rather than try and keep the rest of the team afloat.

Should Cody Hodgson be signed, hopefully, within the next few weeks, where do you see him along with all of the other forwards? Give me your feedback!

Throw me some questions, maybe a follow, on Twitter! @seanmcgrath44

Tags: Buffalo Sabres

  • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

    Hodgson still has a lot to work on – defense and faceoffs being top priorities, especially if he wants to remain on the first line. Having said that, the Sabres should have signed him weeks ago . . . except I fear he is trying to land a contract that he is not quite worth yet.

    • Sean McGrath

      I agree. Face offs are a major thing to work on for him, along with his two-way play. I fear the same thing along the lines of the Sabres are low balling him completely and are driving him out of Buffalo. That is my main fear. IMO id say sign him to a three year, 5-7 mil contract, with the potential to sign an extension after 2 years.

      • Troy Berkely

        I agree for the most part, but not for 5-7 Mil! (That is getting in the Vanek range, and I am not sure he is there yet. More like the 3-4 Mil range seems fair, with incentive clauses in the 4 to 5 year range. Another option as a previously stated by what Ric said, give him a deal similar to Ennis, “Prove what your worth.” I agree though, he is a talented Hockey player, who has not reached his potential yet, with an unlimited ceiling and needs to be signed ASAP to insure that he will remain a Sabre in order to grow with the so called rebuild. He has the seasoning behind him, so I expect 2013 to be his defining year.

  • qwicwted

    You know Stepan also hasn’t signed and I would be more concerned if the Sabres were in the same position as the Rangers – have only $2M in cap space. I’m sure Hodgeson is concerned about ice time and if he will be the #1 center and who he will play with. Yes, Hodgeson does need to improve his d and his faceoffs and he may have overvalued himself based onthe Sabres vision of him being the #1 Center. I understand what you are saying – that we need to sign him – but Sean says a 3 year deal at 5-7M – that averages out to be $2.33M a year – is that what you think the Sabres should offer?
    I would say more along the lines of $2.25M the first year, $3.25M the 2nd year and $4.5 the 3rd year – with the potential to sign an extension.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      I don’t know if I would offer him a 3-year deal yet. The Sabres gave Ennis a “prove what you’re worth” 2-year deal, which is what I would do, too. However, Hodgson most likely won’t go for that, so what you propose seems fair. If the Sabres truly feel he is going to be the #1, and will offer him a 3-year contract, $2.33 million a year seems a little on the low side.

    • Jes

      It’s gotta be an average of at least $4Million a year IMO. $2.25 Million is a slap in the face to Hodgson even if it’s just for the 1st year.

  • [email protected]

    I think we need to do what it takes to takes to get Hodgson signed, it would be a shame to see an up and coming player leave town….again.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      I agree . . . well, within reason. The Sabres locked in Tyler Myers for half of his NHL career, and that didn’t work out too well for them. They have to be careful not to overpay/overvalue their talent. But yes, I wish they would get this done.

  • GuyOnABuffalo

    Relax Sean, this is how RFA signing works for good RFAs. He’ll get signed, but the good ones hang out for a while in the summer while UFAs get signed and lesser RFAs get signed so they can get the most out of their contracts. See: Kadri, Pietrangelo, Rundblad, Cowen, Stepan, Nyquist, Henrique…

    • qwicwted

      I agree – I guess my thought is other players he is on par with and he should be offered the same salary – so – makes me wonder what Kadri, Stepan, Henrique and Johannson are being offered. Since none of them have resigned – maybe they have all overpriced their value at this point. I just can’t see paying $4M a year right now when Hodgeson needs to improve his game. I think I would liken Hodgeson to Couture but consider his skill level a year behind. So maybe $2.75M is reasonable.

  • davidmuscalo

    Hodgson will be signed – of that I have no doubt. Regier knows he has to sign Hodgson. My best guess is that he will be signed to a three-year contract at about $4 million per year.

  • Kevin

    I think while he does need to work on faceoffs and defense, so does just about every talented young kid breaking into the NHL. They don’t teach you those things very well in college and Juniors, you either have it in you or you don’t. 98% don’t. Therefore they learn as they go. As will COHO. Judging by the improvement I saw last year over the year before tells me he will have his best yr at those weakness. also hope that means he can stop worrying about them and they will become 2nd nature to him and he will be even better on the offensive side of the puck.

  • Timothy Redinger

    CoHo doesn’t want to have to go through the RFA stage again as well – The Sabres probably want to walk him through a bridge contract – almost like franchise tagging a guy in football, they keep his deal short, giving them right of first refusal the next time around – they sign him to a longer term deal, he becomes a UFA when that contract ends.
    At the same time, Buffalo needs to stop staring at the rest of the league, and either do the proverbial crap or get off the pot – do whats best for CoHo and the Sabres.

  • GuyOnABuffalo

    Miller and Enroth, in my opinion, will most likely split time until one goalie pulls ahead of the other, or Miller gets traded.Jhonas Enroth is in the prime of his career and ready to start.