Here at CC, we have been lamenting the lack of NHL ice time handed to prospect numero uno Cody Hodsgon this season despite ample opportunity. And with the eye injury suffered by third line centre Manny Malhotra last week (now revealed to be season ending), you would think that the door of opportunity should have finally swung wide open for him.
Until the trading deadline the Canucks played the entire season with only 3 centres on their roster possessing any measurable NHL experience. And while most fawned over the Canucks’ seemingly never ending run of bad luck when it came to injuries to their defensive corps, no one (except CC) bothered to mention the healthy reversal of fortune that was being experienced by Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Malhotra, who until Manny’s unlucky break, hadn’t missed a game between them all season.
At the trading deadline, GM Mike Gillis undertook to address this lack of secondary depth at this most key position by adding career 4th liner Maxim Lapierre to the mix. And with the injury to Malhotra, Lapierre seems to have ascended to the third line. For now.
Which brings us to Hodgson, the coddled one, who, as of this writing, is still ruminating on the farm.
The conventional wisdom with Hodsgon’s most recent demotion to the Moose (where he has now scored 16 goals in just 45 games) coincident with the acquisition of Lapierre was that he was ill suited to a 4th line NHL role and needed to play some serious minutes.
Okay, but what about now? With the Canucks in cruise control the rest of the regular season, what better time to audition the poster boy of the Mike Gillis era of player development? He can, in a no pressure situation, take Malhotra’s third line duties along with second unit power play time, while the two dimensional Lapierre can spell Malhotra on the penalty kill.
After all with Malhotra, Kesler and Hank tied up contractually long term, the only way Hodgson will ever get the chance to prove his wares is when one of them is hurt. Like NOW.
But, instead, we’ve seen Victor Oreskovich slide into the line-up to be replaced now by Tanner Glass, the jack of all trades (though hardly a legitimate NHL centre ice man). And with today’s confirmation of Malhotra’s status, there was the recalling of Alex Bolduc, the man with Alek Stojanov’s shoulders.
So what gives? Do the Canucks really want to run the risk of throwing Hodgson to the proverbial playoff wolves should the not-so-unthinkable happen? That is, another injury to one of their three remaining centre ice men?
If Hodgson’s time is not now, then when?Tags: Vancouver Canucks