The optimism was obvious this morning from the Manitoba Moose that a young player with a strong pedigree may soon arrive to lend a hand.
Centre Cody Hodgson, though, must first get through a physical examination in Vancouver before the Canucks will assign him to their AHL affiliate.
Hodgson’s season in the Ontario Hockey League came to an end on Wednesday night when his Brampton Battalion lost a fourth straight game to Barrie. The Battalion had won its first-round series against Kingston after seven gritty games.
The 20-year-old centre missed more than half of this season recovering from back problems and has been hobbled with a broken toe or foot injury in recent weeks. That’s what the Canucks want to have a look at before his season continues.
Hodgson, Vancouver’s first-round pick in 2008, came to the Moose last spring, contributing six points to 11 games during a run to the Calder Cup final series.
This year on a team that’s nowhere near what it was last spring, Hodgson figures to be able to help the Moose even more.
"Yes, I think he can," Moose coach Scott Arniel said this morning. "I think last year the Cody that we got had already played over 100 games and he was very fatigued. I think this year, he missed most of the first half and I think he’s a lot fresher than he was. He played well for us at times last year.
"When we get a guy with that kind of pedigree, we’re hoping that he can step in and log some big minutes for us."
With his injuries this season and now the look-see trip to Vancouver, Arniel still sounded certain Hodgson would be a player for the Moose when the playoffs start next week.
"Oh yeah, he’ll be here," the coach said. "We were kind of hoping to get him into a game this weekend but it’ll probably be at the start of next week."
If Hodgson plays again for the Moose, it will make five new players in the last three weeks from the amateur ranks. Already, Jordan Schroeder, Kevin Clark, Aaron Volpatti and Jordan Hill have joined the team.
The Moose, who have locked up a North Division playoff spot, meet Peoria here on Friday and Saturday to complete the 80-game regular season.