Can Cody Hodgson finally make the leap?

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For what seemed like forever (it was actually two years), we heard about how Cody Hodgson would be the kid who’d be the next big thing out of Vancouver. He was their first-round pick in 2008 and when he finally arrived late in the 2010-11 season, hype reached its peak.

Hype didn’t translate into results, however, and on a loaded Canucks team Hodgson found it frustrating playing on the third or fourth line. Issues behind the scenes seemed to pile up and he was sent to Buffalo at the trade deadline. While Sabres coach Lindy Ruff bounced Hodgson up and down the lineup in his 20 games with Buffalo, he enters this season with a real opportunity.

With Derek Roy now in Dallas and Steve Ott taking up residence as a potential center or winger, Hodgson’s playmaking potential has a huge opportunity to grow. After all, the Sabres have a host of guys that can finish. Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Ennis were all double-digit goal scorers last season. Vanek, Pominville, and Stafford are all former 30-goal guys.

If Hodgson can take charge, he’s got a shot to be their No. 1 center. With 2012 first-round picks Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, the Sabres won’t be short on centers for long, but for now it’s up to Hodgson to show that the hype wasn’t all for naught.