It hasn’t been easy for Cody Hodgson since being drafted by Vancouver in 2008. A highly decorated junior, Hodgson was hampered by injuries after being picked 10th overall and wasn’t able to jump right into the NHL like many in his draft class. Meanwhile, the pressure built in a rabid market and the talk of a rift between player and club intensified.
Today Hodgson was traded to Buffalo, and even though the rift talk subsided this season as he proved he belonged in the NHL, it’s no surprise there are rumblings he asked to be moved.
Rumblings that general manager Mike Gillis didn’t exactly quash when asked by reporters.
Via The Province:
Hodgson’s camp and head coach have not always seen eye to eye. Because of that Gillis was asked if Hodgson’s crew asked for a trade.
“That’s an internal thing I’m not going to comment about,” he said.
It was pointed out to Gillis that his non-answer will lead to rampant speculation that Hodgson did in fact ask for a trade.
“Well, there will be speculation that he did, then,” Gillis said. “Things that happen behind closed doors in our offices are not for public consumption.
“I’m not going to discuss it.”
Well, that wasn’t evasive at all.
Two weeks ago, Province columnist Tony Gallagher suggested that Hodgson’s lack of ice time could lead to trouble:
At some point, somebody is going to have to acknowledge there is something coach Alain Vigneault doesn’t like about this kid. Maybe he doesn’t like his smile or the deodorant he uses or something. Maybe it goes back to that long-distance exchange the coach had with Hodgson, after he was dispatched from his first Canucks camp. Who knows? But when your team is struggling to score the way this team is these days, you would think finding a way to get him out there more would be a good idea.
When Hodgson was put out with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen in the third period, they produced the winning goal. What’s clear is this can’t go on. At some point the kid is going to get fed up and asked to be traded. This doesn’t mean the team has to grant that request, but it’s not usually a good situation when you have a player who doesn’t want to be there.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Hodgson asked to be traded. Besides, it’s not like he was blown out the door for peanuts. Zack Kassian may be raw, but he’s exactly the type of player the Canucks have been looking for, save for a few years experience.
“We felt we needed better balance on our team,” Gillis said. “We needed some size and we needed some toughness.”
Yet the Canucks are arguably a weaker team today than they were with Hodgson in the lineup, as even Gillis admits that Kassian’s “still got a ways to go at the NHL level.” And for a Cup contender, making a deadline move that weakens the team with an eye towards the future is rare.