Yep Corey, that puck is indeed behind you.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
When Cody Hodgson isn’t stealing jobs and hearts – he’s busy making an impressive mid-season run that may yet earn him a Calder nomination. Today the NHL recognized the incredible run Hodgson has been on, by naming him "NHL Rookie of the Month" in January.
Hodgson tallied six times in eleven games in the first month of the year, while adding four assists. His ice-time was also up significantly over the four weeks, as he averaged over 13 minutes per game, up from just over 11 minutes per game at the end of December. Of course, a rookie of the month bid is always strengthened by a signature moment like the one Hodgson had in Boston, when he scored the game-winning goal, on the best goalie in the world, off of a jaw-dropping snipe:
The award further strengthens Hodgson’s ROY bid, which, only last week I called "a long-shot." While the likelihood of Hodgson becoming the first Canucks rookie since Pavel Bure to win the Calder Trophy remains farfetched, with Hodgson on an incredible tear, it’s undeniable that the buzz is building. Becoming just the third rookie this season to win "Rookie of the Month" certainly doesn’t hurt his case, from NHL.com:
As a result of his January heroics, Hodgson has put himself front and center in the Calder Trophy discussion. His 14 goals are now second among rookies, one behind Philadelphia’s Matt Read, while his 30 points are tied for fourth, five behind Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who won Rookie of the Month in both October and November. New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, second in rookie scoring with 34 points, earned the honor in December. Hodgson also has 5 power-play goals, one behind Nashville’s Craig Smith, and a solid plus-8 rating.
Needless to say: Hodgson is sporting an impressive rookie résumé.
One would suspect that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who just resumed full-contact practices with the Oilers and could be back as early as Saturday, remains the front-runner; though Adam Henrique, Matt Read and Gabriel Landeskog are all firmly in the conversation as well.
But Hodgson has several advantages going forward. First of all, Hodgson has played a full year of professional hockey, and may not run into the same "wall" that the Nuge, Landeskog and Read may hit. Also, Hodgson is playing on a contender, and will have more "high-profile" games to make an impression on voters. Finally, Hodgson was used in a less "offensive" role in the 2011 portion of the season. That’s changed since the Calender turned on January 1st, and the Canucks have started feeding Cody Franchise a whole whack of cushy offensive opportunities this past month. Counting stats don’t impress me as much as what Landeskog is doing in Colorado (where he’s dominating at both ends of the ice), but with the PHWA doing the voting – goals, assists and points are usually what results in hardware.
So, while Hodgson is bound to regress somewhat from his otherworldly performance in January, his chances of earning a Calder nomination are now legitimately "realistic". Start the campaign, Canucks fans: #CoHoforCalder.