What the Cody Hodgson Deal Means

 

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Pen has finally been put to paper and fans of Cody Hodgson and the Buffalo Sabres can breathe a sigh of relief as the two sides have finally agreed on a new contract. Cody Hodgson and the Sabres agreed on a 6 year contract worth roughly $25.5 million with a cap hit of around $4.25 million a year. This was almost a perfect deal for the Sabres going forward, the only risky part is the length of the deal, 6 years is a long time and for an injury prone Hodgson anything can happen. So what does the Hodgson signing mean going forward for the Sabres?

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, the 6 year deal means the Buffalo Sabres want Cody Hodgson to be their future. You don’t sign a fairly un-proven player for 6 years without the chance to make him the future. I was quite surprised by the 6 year deal, I thought it would be more around 4 years, but the extra two-years helped keep the cap hit down and that could be huge in the future.

Back to Hodgson being the future of the Buffalo Sabres. The 6 year deal shows Hodgson’s willingness to stick with the Sabres through the rebuild and continue to lead the team during and after the rebuild. He said he wanted to stay in Buffalo long-term and he got his wish, whether you like it or not Darcy Regier is showing faith in Hodgson wanting him to be the future of the club. With the 6 year deal, it’s likely certain a letter could be coming his way as well. There’s been a lot of debate surrounding the captaincy of the Sabres and the front-runners were thought to be Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek, but the future of both players is unknown. Vanek has hinted at leaving and there’s no guarantee Ott sticks around long-term and the Sabres are in need of a captain who will stick with the club through the rebuild. Hodgson has now signed long-term, signaling that he wants to be the future and this gives the team a chance to name a captain who will lead the team into the future.

This is the perfect opportunity for the Sabres to name a young captain who has a little experience and will develop along with the rest of the Sabres. Sure his defence needs a little improvement, but he’s only 23 and has tons of time (6 years to be exact), to prove his worth and fix his defence. While this isn’t his first NHL training camp (2011), this will be the first training camp he enters with the confidence of his team and coaches. Knowing where you stand and what your team expects of you can make all the difference, expect to see a confident and motived Cody Hodgson when they get on the ice tomorrow. The Sabres want him to be the first-line centre of the future and are giving him 6 years to live up to that. They believe he has a bright future.

Don’t be surprised if Hodgson is named the next Buffalo Sabres captain ahead of this season, it’s evident they want him around long-term and to be a leader on this team. While Hodgson has been an inconsistent player who hasn’t reached his full potential yet, this deal gives him the opportunity to mature as a player and really find his game. He’s getting better every season and with a full training camp, confidence and a role on the first line, this could be a big year for the young Hodgson.

Perhaps the best part about this deal, besides Hodgson agreeing to stay in Buffalo long-term, is the amount. $4.25 million for a player like Hodgson isn’t a lot of money, especially when the cap will be going back up. Let’s think positive here; If Hodgson develops his game in the next two seasons and becomes a super star first-line centre who leads the Sabres in scoring, the Sabres are only paying him $4.25 million a year. The Sabres still have almost $6 million in cap space to sign other solid young players to support Hodgson. On the flip side; even if Hodgson doesn’t get much better, doesn’t learn defence and is surpassed by Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons/Johan Larsson, because he’s only making $4.25 a year that isn’t horrible money for a solid third-line centre. Look around the League. Right now Nazem Kadri is playing on the third line and will only demand more money, Tyler Bozak- nothing more than a glorified third-line centre is making $4.2M a year. The Sabres got a solid deal with Hodgson and in the end the amount of money they paid will only help the team.

The Buffalo Sabres have decided to move forward with Cody Hodgson leading the rebuild and leading the young Sabres into a new era. The 6 year deal means Cody Hodgson will be apart of the Sabres future for a long while. He’ll have an opportunity to grow as a player and the onus is now on him to become a better player and play like a true first-line centre. I’ve watched Hodgson since his days with the Brampton Battalion and even practiced with him (yes I’ve stopped one of his shots), the kid has tremendous hockey sense and skill. He’s had a rough go with injuries and gotten a bad reputation, but this is like a new start for the young centre. Look for Hodgson to take advantage of the leap of faith the Sabres have taken on him.

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Cody Hodgson, Hodgson Signing

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  • erico

    ott is a fan fav. he will resign and get captain. hodgsons new contract does not mean captain. should we have given Myers captaincy when he got his 7 year contract? or how about ehrhoff who will be around longer than both of them? Hodgson still has a lot to learn to even be considered as a leader on the team. yes kadri had 3rd line minutes but hes not a 3rd liner anymore. hes #1. bozak #2 and bolland #3

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Alright first of all this situation is different than when Myers signed his extension. The Sabres had Pommers, Vanek and other players who could be captain. Right now the Sabres don’t have that and they can’t risk a one year captain situation. They’re entering a rebuild and want to go in a different direction so Hodgson would be a solid choice for captain.

      Kadri is not the Leafs first line centre, thats Bozak who has chemistry with Kessel while Kadri does not. But you have to look at Bozak’s skill set, it’s nothing more than than of a 3rd line centre.

      • erico

        bozaks skill has been of a second liner lately. 50ish points is second line numbers. Kadri did play on a line with kessel. for the greater of the season. they fed off eachother a lot

  • Ben Chalker

    Erhoff for Captain. A’s to Vanek and Ott.
    When Vanek ships out, give that A to Hodge.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      That’s a fair deal I could see that happening… he deserves a letter soon

      • Ben Chalker

        He’ll have to earn it of course, I could totally see Ennis playing his ass off all year and being a more worthy recipient.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I could see this being a big year for Ennis as well. Lots of talk about him being shipped out after this season, but I’m not sure

          • Ben Chalker

            I could see Ennis going at the deadline if he’s having a good year, which could be best for everyone really. He’s in a contract year again, although he’ll still be an RFA.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            he’s a solid player and personally I’d like to see him sticking around, but if the Sabres could get something decent for him then by all means upgrade.

          • Ben Chalker

            He is a solid player, but one that doesn’t fit the bill for the new direction. Best case, He might be able to play himself on to a contenders roster. Worst case, he ends up in Calgary or something…

          • Caitlin Campbell

            I’d love to see him playing for a playoff contender because he is a solid player.

  • erico

    i guarantee by american thanksgiving Ott will be given captaincy and a 3-4 year extension. 2.9-3.5 per

    • Caitlin Campbell

      If that happens, then by all means give the C to Ott. I just have my doubts about naming him captain.

      • erico

        Hes a leader!. maybe not on the scoresheet but thats not what a captain is. A captain is someone who leads a team to victory, someone who out speaks everyone else and sets an example. Ott has become all of these things since becoming a buffalo sabre.

        Now i do say Ott is staying. Regier and Otts agent have already started extension talks!!

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I’d love to see Ott back, hope he stays.

  • Kevin

    I think giving CH the “C” would only impede his growth. He has enough on his plate to worry about the responsibility of captaincy.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      True the “C” may be a bit much for him, but I think he’d be ready for an A

  • Jes

    Give the C to Vanek A’s to Ehrhoff and Ott. Once Vanek leaves I’d give the C to Ott, if he doesn’t resign I’d give it to Ehrhoff (I honestly do not think he’d be a very vocal leader) or Myers.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Ehrhoff would not be a vocal leader at all and if both Vanek and Ott are gone the Sabres are screwed leadership wise. Hodgson has the potential to be a solid captain/leader

  • qwicwted

    I like this deal and I’m glad they got it done pretty fast – figured after the Kadri signing yesterday it was just a matter of time. I like the fact that Cody wanted a longer term contract and wants to be part of he rebuild. I’ve heard that Cody could be potential captain material, although I think it is a little soon. The bar isn’t set high for the Sabres and this season will allow Cody to develop – work on his D, faceoffs and leadership skills. The future bodes well because if Cody wants to lead the team, he will have plenty of help – we have quite a number of youngsters that are eager to play and have leadership experience – McNabb, Larsson, Girgensons and Ristolainen.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      as soon as Kadri signed I figured the Sabres would finish things up with Cody. He’s definitely captain material but needs a little while to develop his game all the way.

  • chas territo

    why would/should Vanek get any type of captaincy? What has he done to deserve it? He scores goals, but not much more than that.I have neve seen emotion or on-ice leadership and wonder about locker room leadership. No, not Vanek or for that matter Cody as well. CH has a good contract and scores some goals, what else shows he deserves to even be mentioned for captain. Next thing people/fans will nominate Stifford or Myers for the captain role????

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Vanek was the favourite to get the captain role before it was given to Pommers. He does show emotion and he’s carried the Sabres offencively for years. It would kind of be a reward for everything he’s done for the team and sticking with them. Cody does have the potential to be a solid leader/captain.

      • chas territo

        Sorry Caitlin, I do not agree about Vanek and his non on-ice leadership. I have never seen any emotion other thank congrats for a goal by a team mate.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Fair enough. I’ve seen a little frustration but he’d be more of a lead by example captain IMO

          • chas territo

            Lead by example?? IMO say that is not as good a leadership way for young, immature players to learn from. We need a vocal leaders) always! I’ve seen that before with the sabres, what good did it do? Not much! Again quiet leadership is wasted on the young like TM, TE, VL and a few others. We need the kind that stands up in front of the team and voices his creds, not the quiet type!

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  • Dagny Taggart

    Sabres have a lot of options on this topic, several that are pretty viable options too.

    From Hodgson’s career so far (pre and post the bashing he took from Canucks mgmt to deflect negative public opinion for the trade onto the player), his character and work ethic have been spoken of only in favourable terms by those who train, coach and play with him, and at his drafting there was chatter about him having the type of leadership potential that one expects to see out of a franchise player. So, all in, I can certainly see Hodgson as a Captain. And why not now, at the start to the rebuild, freshly signed for 6 years and the leading edge of the rebuild youth movement.

    Then again, he is only 23 and there’s an argument to be made for the captaincy perhaps being a distraction for a kid just going into his first full (non shortened) NHL season feeling the confidence of a team that supports him.

    So, another option is to give him an ‘A’ for starters and reserve the ‘C’ for an older vet not likely to be around long term – there’s nothing wrong with having a short term, interim captaincy, allowing Hodgson (and other contenders?) to have the year without that distraction.

    Alternatively, the Sabres could go with three Alternate/Assistant captains this entire year and sort out the ‘C’ as the rebuild has a chance to flush out.

    As for Vanek, the only way I see him not being given the ‘C’ automatically is if he specifically tells mgmt that he doesn’t want it until he’s sorted out his own future with the team. And that again goes toward the theory of not anointing a Captain for this first rebuild year.

  • Gordon Sands

    You have to question anyone that voluntarily stays with a gongshow like the Sabres. No heart, no character, no winning attitude.