Competition is extremely fierce with the Canucks this pre-season, and it sure is looking like Hodgson won’t make the roster.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid, he’s everything a Canucks fan can hope for, but it looks like now isn’t the time, yet. I know, with just 6 pre-season games under the belt for the team, Hodgson still has a maximum of 3 more pre-season games to play, and then 9 more regular season games before his first-year contract kicks in.
It’s really too bad that he just came off an injury, and it may have affected his performance a little. But that little bit has proved to be devastating, especially in the big leagues. The difference between mediocre players versus great players may be just that little in the NHL today.
Let’s be honest here, Hodgson didn’t play poorly, his play was decent, and he did have an empty-netter and that beautiful shoot-out goal. This may have been sufficient if he’s playing in Atlanta, Colorado or even Florida. In Vancouver, however, he needs to be better, better than Wellwood, Pope, Bliznak and Bolduc, if he wants to play center.
If he can adjust to playing on the wing, he still needs to be better than Shirokov, Glass, Parrish or even Hansen. Has he really shown that he is better than them?
With five of the top nine forward positions locked down with Henrik, Daniel, Burrows, Kesler, and Samuelsson, there are only four spots open.
Wellwood has been sensational so far in the pre-season, his soft hands and patience have surely earned him a spot in the roster. Raymond has been consistent, and his change to go to the net more has resulted with better production. He was even named the first star in tonight’s game with a great goal to help shift the momentum and another shoot-out goal.
Bernier has improved significantly as well, he seems to be faster and he had a great game against the Ducks. Hansen, similarily had a great game against the Oilers and his speed will prove to be a great asset for the team. Both players were exceptionally great, and in terms of points, Shirokov and Hodgson had better production.
With two great goals and two assists, Shirokov has the best chance out of the four for a spot. Fans in Vancouver love Shirokov and it’s naive to think that the organization will neglect this when they finalize the roster.
Hansen recently just signed a league-minium two-way contract, so it’s safe to say that unless he performs brilliantly in the remaining games, he will be heading to Manitoba.
So this leaves us with Bernier and Hodgson. I personally believe that Bernier contributes more with his size, toughness and newly revived speed. Hodgson however is still young, so young that if the Canucks decide to cut him, he won’t be eligible to play in the AHL this season. He will have to go back to the juniors for another year.
My prediction is that since Hodgson just came back from an injury, the Canucks won’t risk putting him in at the beginning of the season. Bernier, on the other hand, is in a great shape, and he will get the nod to start the season.
Another sign of this is coach Vigneault’s post-game reaction suggests that he feels Hodgson isn’t playing that well.
On one hand, I guess it’s great to see that even a player with three goals (1 slapshot, 1 empty-netter and 1 OT goal) in the pre-season can’t even make the Canucks’ roster, but on the other hand you have to feel sorry for Cody.
Notice how I didn’t mention Grabner at all, that’s because there’s absolutely no way he will make the team. I guess there’s always hope, Michael, …hope that Gillis will trade you to a weaker team.