Playing on a losing team isn’t easy. Playing on a team that looked ready to set new records for worst start and most losses is even harder, but one player continues to make the most o his playing time for the rebuilding Buffalo Sabres. While the Sabres have struggled to a 4-15-1 record to start the season, Cody Hodgson has led the team in nearly every offensive category and helped the team to a shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. That win was the first of the season for the Sabres at home, and their second win in the last four games. There is no reason to think that things are about to turn around for the Sabres, but in Hodgson they have a player to build around as they try and return to the playoffs at some point in the future.
This season, Hodgson has seven goals and 15 points through 20 games. Those aren’t exactly league-leading numbers, but to put them in perspective now that Thomas Vanek is gone Hodgson has five more goals and seven more points than his next-closest teammate. Two goals from Hodgson on Tuesday were good enough to force extra time, and both came courtesy of assists from Matt Moulson. Since the Sabres got Moulson back in the Vanek trade, he has eight points in seven games and has developed some great chemistry with Hodgson. There may not be much for fans in Buffalo to be excited about this season, but with Hodgson signed for five more seasons after this one they have a great building block in place. The young center showed a lot of promise last season, and now looks ready to set career-highs in all scoring categories even as the Sabres struggle.