BUFFALO – Make no mistake, Cody Hodgson, the Sabres’ leading scorer last season, is the new right winger on the fourth line beside center Sam Reinhart and Nick Deslauriers.
“Yeah, he’s on the fourth line,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said curtly this afternoon.
Hodgson could be moved to the press box next.
“He’s pretty close there, too,” Nolan said.
Hodgson, like just about every Sabres forward, has struggled this season, compiling one goal, two points and a minus-7 rating in 10 contests.
The 24-year-old said the demotion doesn’t anger him.
“No, honestly, I’m just trying to help the team,” Hodgson said. “I’ve said it every time we talk about it, we’ve got to figure out ways to score goals.”
The Sabres have only 10 goals in 10 games and have been blanked four times in the last six games, including Tuesday’s ugly 4-0 loss in Toronto.
Nolan shuffled his lines for today’s 90-minute practice inside the First Niagara Center.
The other new trios: Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford; Torrey Mitchell, Zemgus Girgensons, Brian Gionta; Marcus Foligno, Cody McCormick, Chris Stewart.
“You at least try to get three lines where you think guys are giving it, and you mix and match until there’s some sort of chemistry going,” Nolan said.
Thursday will be Reinhart’s ninth game. The 18-year-old’s contract kicks in with his 10th appearance. Nolan said the Sabres haven’t decided the rookie’s future yet.
Nolan hinted the Sabres could recall someone if Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, goes back to junior.
“That’s what you need – you need some sparks,” he said. “I think we got some good soldiers. We just need that little bit of extra energy.”