The Sabres desperately needed a scoring pivot, even if it meant parting with prospect Zack Kassian.
So far, Hodgson’s pointless in five games between Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, although Sabres coach Lindy Ruff seems pleased. Hodgson, who has 16 goals and 33 points in 68 games, has just one score in 13 games and two in 18.
“I think he’s a smart player,” Ruff said about Hodgson. “I think he’s played well in his own end. He’s made a lot of good plays. He sees the ice well. … I thought that line had good chemistry.”
Ruff added: “He’s got some good puck savvy, a strong skater, strong on his skates (and) a thicker body (6-feet, 185 pounds) that you don’t find them on the ice very often. And I think his play in his own end, I played him against top lines, and I like the way he played.”
Ennis played with Hodgson three years ago on Team Canada’s gold medal world junior championship team and likes the line’s make-up. Ennis and Stafford have a combined two goals and five points.
“Staff’s a shooter and a scorer,” Ennis said. “I’m pretty creative and quick. Cody’s kind of smart and well-rounded in all areas and can score, so we kind of mesh together nicely.”
Stafford called the trio’s first four games “awesome.”
“(It) finally feels as though we have a solid line with pretty good chemistry right off the bat, four games in,” he said. “We’ve been making some plays. I feel as though we can be a threat out there.”
Stafford said “it’s kind of funny seeing 19 out there, a right-handed 19.”
“Sometimes I see Tim Connolly,” he said about the former Sabres center, now in Toronto. “If you think about it, a right-handed natural centerman, we haven’t had one all year.”