Cody Hodgson is nearing the end of a nightmare season. The 24-year-old forward has only two goals and 8 points in 51 games. Hodgson is also in another stretch has a healthy scratch for the Sabres. The former first round pick is the 2014-15 season version of Ville Leino. With the recent trade with the Jets, Hodgson should be able to get back in the lineup and have a chance make an impact again.
If the Sabres want to move on from Hodgson, they have a few options this offseason. The first option is a buy out of Hodgson’s contract. At Hodgson’s current age (25 at season’s end) his buyout would only be 1/3 of
his current salary double the length of the remaining contract, opposed to 2/3 of his salary. Meaning, the Sabres would pay 6.3 million dollars of the 19 million still owed to Hodgson, over the next eight seasons (four seasons remaining on the contract after this season). This would leave the Sabres with a cap hit of only 787k for the next eight years. If the Sabres choose not use that option this offseason, once Hodgson turns 26 in February of next year the buy out would go to 2/3 of his salary. Also, the buy out price would be higher in the 2016 offseason as the value of Hodgson’s contract increases throughout the life of the deal.
A cap hit of less than one million dollars to get out of Hodgson’s contract doesn’t seem like a bad option for the Sabres. If they can’t find a trade partner for Hodgson, the buyout looks to be the most logical option for the Sabres if they want to end the relationship.
The other option to move on from Hodgson of course would be the trade route. However, currently Hodgson has very little to no trade value. Buffalo can hope Hodgson closes the season on a hot streak and has trade value entering the offseason. The thing that also works again Hodgson in a trade, is his terrible defensive zone game. Other teams watch games too and they know how poor he is in his own end. Teams may not be willing to move assets to acquire Hodgson with his inconsistent play and very poor defensive zone coverage.
One More Chance
Buffalo could also not do anything with Hodgson in the offseason. They could choose to keep him on the roster and hope he has a better season in 2015-16. This option could allow them to move Hodgson during next season or allow him to become a
productive player again.
As the season goes on, I have more doubts that Ted Nolan will return next season as the Sabres Head Coach. Tim Murray could look to tie Hodgson’s poor season to Nolan if the Sabres do move on from its coach. Sometimes a coach and player could not see eye to eye on a player’s role and cause a poor season. Not saying that’s the case here, but nonetheless could be a something the Sabres cling to if they keep Hodgson around.
Also Hodgson could have more success on an anticipated better club next season. The season’s of finishing in last place should be over starting next season. Hodgson could benefit from playing with a play making center like Sam Reinhart and begin to produce for the Sabres again.
The Hodgson story line will definitely be something for fans to watch as the season enters the final stretch. As things stand right now, it’s hard to picture Hodgson as part of the Sabres future going forward.