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Cody Hodgson retires at 26 to join Predators’ youth hockey program

Once a promising first-round pick, Cody Hodgson has decided to hang up his skates after consecutive disappointing seasons. He was bought out by the Sabres in June 2015 and ended the past campaign in the AHL.

Right around the time Cody Hodgson should have been hitting his stride and reaching the prime of his career, the Vancouver Canucks’ 2008 first-round pick has decided to call it a career.

The Predators announced that Hodgson, who spent part of the 2015-16 campaign in Nashville after signing a one-year, $1.05-million deal, has decided to hang up his skates to join the Predators’ youth hockey and fan development program. The announcement comes with little more than a week before the start of a new campaign and with Hodgson remaining an unrestricted free agent heading into the season.

For Hodgson, it’s an early retirement and no doubt a disappointing end to what appeared at one time to be a potentially promising NHL career. Hodgson, 26, was the 10th-overall selection in the 2008 draft, and for a while it seemed the Canucks had a burgeoning star on their hands. 

During his days with the OHL’s Brampton Battalion, Hodgson posted back-to-back 40-goal, 80-plus point campaigns and tore up the World Junior Championship with five goals and 16 points at the 2009 tournament. However, Hodgson struggled through a back injury during his final season in the OHL. It was after that season, the 2009-10 campaign, that Hodgson made his jump to the pro game.

In his first year as a pro, Hodgson showed the flashes that made him such a prized prospect. He scored 17 goals and 30 points in 52 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and added a goal and an assist in eight games in Vancouver, and the next year he made the full-time jump to the NHL. Starting the season with the Canucks, Hodgson scored 16 goals and 33 points in 63 games, but he was part of a major mid-season trade that sent him to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Zack Kassian.

Hodgson would finish out his season in Buffalo with three goals and eight points in 20 games, and he would come into the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season firing in all cylinders. He scored 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games to finish second on the team in scoring, which led to a six-year, $25.5-million contract extension with Buffalo. Eventually, though, that deal would prove troublesome.

In the first sesaon of the deal, Hodgson scored 20 goal and 44 points, and while that was a let down from his past season’s totals, but reaching the 20-goal plateau paired with his six-goal, eight-point World Championship performance gave hope that Hodgson could still remain a 25-plus goal scorer in the future. However, the next season, he managed only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, and he was subsequently bought out by the Sabres.

The buyout led to Hodgson latching on in Nashville, but his campaign ended with him suiting up for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. And it appears as though Milwaukee is where Hodgson’s career will end. 

Over the course of his career, Hodgson scored 64 goals and 142 points in 328 career games.

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