When the Vancouver Canucks swapped former first round pick Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian back in February of 2012, it was a second-chance kind of move for both players. Hodgson had put up 16 goals and 33 points through 63 games pre-trade for Vancouver during the 2011-2012 season, so
Of course, neither Hodgson nor Kassian stuck with their ‘second-chance’ homes – and now Hodgson is available yet again.
Hodgson was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres this summer, while Kassian was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens for Brandon Prust – then immediately placed in league-mandated Alcohol and Substance Abuse rehabilitation.
Once Kassian was discharged from the rehabilitation centre, he hit waivers; once he cleared, the Edmonton Oilers swapped him for Ben Scrivens, and he’s just now been recalled to play for the Pacific Division club.
Hodgson, on the other hand, was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres over the summer from one of the biggest contracts on the team. He was then picked up on a cheap, one year deal by the Nashville Predators, who have now placed him on waivers themselves. Each Kassian and Hodgson went from their ‘second’ chances to a third chance, and both could be on to a fourth chance by tomorrow… which is where Vancouver could come in.
Waivers: NATHAN GUENIN
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) January 13, 2016
The Pros of a Pickup
As with any waiver wire pickup of a young player, Hodgson still holds potential upside. He’s got more production this season than Chris Higgins in a more limited role, and he’s only 25 – the likelihood that Hodgson could put up better numbers in a heavier offensive role is still fairly high.
There’s obviously the risk of picking up a waiver wire player and having him fail to pan out, but players can always be placed back on waivers after a brief period of time. If Hodgson doesn’t pan out, a club can always expose him to the waiver wire again; it seems too bad to advocate the perpetuation of a journeyman season for a young player, but it could ultimately help him find the situation that fits him best.
The Cons of a Pickup
Ultimately, though, there are more cons than pros to the possibility of a pickup – at least, in Vancouver’s case.
For starters, the Canucks are already strapped for roster space. Like, in a big way.
Vancouver just waived forward Chris Higgins, but the Pacific Division club had to place winger Jannik Hansen on injured reserve in order to fit newly acquired Emerson Etem into the active lineup. Brandon Sutter and Luca Sbisa are still out as well, which means that three players will need homes in order to reactivate Hansen, Sutter, and Sbisa. That’s a situation that doesn’t lend itself well to the addition of a player, especially one that doesn’t seem like a guarantee just yet.
In addition, the Canucks are already trying to get younger, faster, and better – while Hodgson’s 25 years isn’t old, he’s not a guaranteed improvement. He and Etem would likely be in the same situation, and that’s not enough of a gain for Vancouver to offset the potential offensive void in the lineup that both of them could provide if neither really find their stride. That’s a gamble that the Canucks shouldn’t take, unless they’re absolutely certain that adding Hodgson would pay off.
Ultimately, though, let’s hope that Hodgson finds a good home wherever he goes.