Cody Hodgson Buyout Not Easy Option, But Makes Sense


There is no denying the fact that the Buffalo Sabres are mired in another historically epic bad season.  The fact that the team is still a literal tire fire while the organization plans the final stages of the rebuild has affected the overall production of all its players, to include top forwards like Cody Hodgson.

The time may come however,to cut ties with Cody Hodgson and release him back into the wild.  The only problem is, Tim Murray doesn’t like to give up players for nothing (who does?).

Through 50 games, Hodgson only has two goals and six assists.  Now you can’t say that all of the bad vibes coming out of Buffalo are the exact reason for this, because there are guys on the team that have been able to score. Zemgus Girgensons leads the team with 13 goals, and Tyler Ennis has hit double digits as well.

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So what makes Cody Hodgson a legitimate buyout contender when the rest of the team is trade worthy?  First off, no other teams see value in a guy who, correct or not, supposedly made so much noise partly causing his departure from Vancouver.  There is little production value.  And now you can talk about the Cody Hodgson contract.

After this season Hodgson still has four years remaining on his contract.  That is a long commitment for a player that will need to reprove his ability to compete and provide value for a team in the National Hockey League.  Ted Nolan spoke very openly about the situation the players in Buffalo are in, and its either prove your worth to another team (if your on the trade line) or prove your worth to us.

So it has come down to the fact that the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres has pretty much gone and said that the Sabres have entered training camp mode, and guys are vying to prove their worth at the NHL level.  If you’re watching Buffalo Sabres hockey games still, there are few nights when anyone has gotten the message of that memo.

Why Buyout Cody Hodgson

What was Hodgson supposed to be for the Buffalo Sabres?  A quick fix at center?  Was the team hoping that getting him out of Vancouver would have changed his play and elevated him to a number one or two center spot that they could pair up with some of the younger prospects coming up in the organization?

I know Tim Murray wants to get something for expiring contracts, and he has said he does not want to let players go away for nothing. Cutting the apron strings from Cody Hodgson might just be the best scenario for both sides of the deal.

For Hodgson – he gets to start over. Let his agent find a team that will be willing to pay him as a third line center, and grow into a larger role, if he indeed gets better with age.  At only 24 years old, his best hockey years might be ahead of him still.  He only got 71 American Hockey League games under his belt.  Granted he was a first overall pick, but how much time did he actually get to learn the professional game before being thrust into a top line role?

I am not saying that Cody Hodgson is going to turn into a perennial all-star and woo the masses by coming out of his shell once he leaves the Buffalo Sabres.  But there is something to be said about letting the kid grow into the game.  That same draft Tyler Myers was taken just after him, and despite winning the Calder trophy – even he could have used some time to season in the minors before being thrust into the bigs.

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2008 NHL Entry Draft

Cody Hodgson went tenth overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  Did the Vancouver Canucks realize they got a draft bust, or did they handle his entry into the NHL wrong?  Lets take a look at the guys in the draft that went ahead of Cody Hodgson.

The top four draft picks from that season played a combine six games in the American Hockey League before joining their clubs full time.  Drew Doughty and Steven Stamkos were instantly put on their clubs roster.  Zach Bogosian (five games) and Alex Petrangelo (1 game) saw limited action in the AHL.  Petrangelo actually saw a stint back with the OHL club for twenty-five games in the 2009-2010 season.

Luke Schenn, taken fifth overall, went straight to the NHL, and was traded to the Flyers.

Nikita Filatov went sixth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets that year, and bounced around being landing himself in the KHL.

Colin Wilson split time between the Nashville Predators and the AHL Admirals in his first pro season, getting 40 total games at the AHL level.

Mikkel Bodker played the AHL game as the Arizona Coyotes got him ready for full time NHL status.  Josh Bailey took a couple of season to get any time in with the New York Islanders farm team, and only appeared in 11 AHL hockey games.

What does all of this tell us about Cody Hodgson?  That he might have been the dropoff man at the draft.  You know that imaginary line of players that aren’t 100% ready for the NHL despite their being good enough to be drafted in the first round.

Maybe he was a reach for the Vancouver Canucks at 10th overall.  Hindsight is always 20/20 in situations like this, but Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson and Jordan Eberle were all drafted after Hodgson in 2008.

For the Buffalo Sabres, there is value in letting Hodgson go via buyout.  They will be on the hook for a portion of his salary per the CBA (no more compliance buyouts).  A team that needed to sign stagglers to one year deals to make the salary floor this year, the cost of his buyout salary for a few years just might help the Buffalo Sabres stabilize their roster and put the right pieces in place going forward.

So we have two schools of thought, give him the change of scenery and eat his cap space as part of the buyout, or retain him and hope that in the next four years we get the type of player that we anticipated when we traded for a top ten draft selection.

Next: Tyler Myers Rumors