BUFFALO – Finally, Cody Hodgson can settle down. The Sabres center had spent his first three professional seasons bouncing around, never staying an entire year in one city.
Now, the 23-year-old, who signed a six-year, $25.5 million deal Wednesday, has some security.
“I’m really happy to have some concrete steps, concrete knowledge of where I’m going to be the next few years,” Hodgson said this morning after the first training camp session inside the First Niagara Center. “Playing in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Rochester, Buffalo the last few years, you’re never really sure where you’re going to be. I’m really happy now to maybe buy a house or something.”
The length and money of Hodgson’s contract surprised many observers. Two other restricted free agent centers with stronger resumes – Toronto’s Nazem Kadri (two years, $5.8 million) and New Jersey’s Adam Henrique (six years $24 million) – recently received smaller contracts.
Clearly, the Sabres’ commitment moved Hodgson. He kept thanking owner Terry Pegula, his wife, Kim, and general manager Darcy Regier, who he called “Mr. Regier.”
Hodgson had 15 goals, 34 points and a minus-4 rating in 48 games last season. At times, he was a huge defensively liability, especially around his own net.
Does Hodgson, the Sabres’ No. 1 center on paper, feel pressure?
“Obviously, there’s just pressure playing professional sports,” he said. “But when they have that much faith in you, obviously you want to try that much harder and reward them for that opportunity.”
Hodgson wasn’t worried about the contract creeping into camp.
“We knew we were going to get it done,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when.”