There’s still hope for Canucks prospect Hodgson - Metro US

There’s still hope for Canucks prospect Hodgson

Here at The Hockey News, we’re working away on our annual Future Watch edition dedicated to prospects and ranking which NHL teams have the best pools to look forward to.

A year ago, Canucks 2008 first-rounder Cody Hodgson graced the cover as the No. 2 ranked prospect (behind Columbus’ KHLer Nikita Filatov). Whenever a player rises to those heights it’s easy to get excited for the future and fantasize about adding such a player to the top line.

But it’s been a bumpy ride for the soon-to-be 20-year-old since. Hodgson notched 123 points in 74 Ontario Hockey League games (regular season and playoffs combined) last season, earning the Canadian League’s Player of the Year and a call-up to the American League’s Manitoba Moose for a playoff run. In 11 games, Hodgson scored twice and added four assists, a performance that left us all anticipating a roster spot in the NHL this season.

But while training in the off-season, Hodgson sustained a back injury — not an injury you bounce back easily from.

After missing the early portion of Vancouver’s training camp, Hodgson returned, but was underwhelming and sent back to the Brampton Battalion. Hodgson’s back was too wonky to play a full season with so he has been kept off the ice until now. Hodgson is expected to return with Brampton tomorrow when they take on the Erie Otters.

The Battalion are unlikely to make the OHL playoffs, so all eyes will be on Hodgson to see if he’s well enough to contribute to another Moose post-season or, much less likely, make a jump up to the NHL.

Last season, few prospects had their stock rise as fast as Hodgson did. This season, his stock plummeted in the eyes of many onlookers.

Make no mistake, the Canucks will give Hodgson time to heal and he still plays a central role in the pipeline. Just a year ago he was being lauded as a future great two-way centre, perhaps taking the mould of former Canuck legend Trevor Linden.

In this year’s Future Watch Top-50 prospects list, Hodgson doesn’t hang onto his No. 2 status, but he still has a legitimate future and remains in the Top 5.

As the famous line in Monty Python’s Holy Grail goes: “I’m not dead yet.”

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