ANAHEIM, Calif. -- First and foremost, Cody Hodgson just wants to fit in. The newest member of the Sabres will get his first chance to do that with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.
Hodgson, the center acquired from Vancouver on Monday, joined Buffalo on the ice for the first time today for the morning skate in Anaheim. He'll play his first game tonight when the Sabres visit the Ducks, and he's set to skate with Ennis on his left and Stafford on his right.
"I’m excited to get going," Hodgson said in Honda Center. "Just try to fit in with the team as best as possible. I’m excited to be here, and hopefully it’s a good fit. I think we can complement each other. I know a few guys already, and I’m looking to have a good time. It’s fun."
The arrival of Hodgson and the departure of Paul Gaustad forced coach Lindy Ruff to juggle his lines. The first of the four will remain the same with Derek Roy in the middle of left wing Thomas Vanek and right wing Jason Pominville. Ville Leino will center Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta, while Brad Boyes will be flanked by Matt Ellis and Corey Tropp.
The biggest changes belong to Ennis and Leino. Ennis had been playing well since a recent switch to center, but he goes back to left wing. Leino, who prefers the wing to center, is back in the middle.
"There’s nothing etched in stone with those lines," Ruff said. "We don’t get a chance to practice them, so we really don’t know what they’re going to look like. We can usually take a look at different lines even during the game. When you bring players in it’s always a little bit disruptive because some guys move out of their spots. With Gaus going out, somebody has to go in that spot. A lot of times it takes a little bit of time.
"It’s more about trying to create two lines that can give us more of a solid offensive look. If we spread it out, we end up going to a three- or four-line look. I think we’d like to take a look at the top two lines getting the bulk of the ice time first."
More ice time will be a bonus for Hodgson. He was averaging just 12:43 per game in Vancouver, yet he still racked up 16 goals and 37 points in 63 games.
"There’s just some tweaks and stuff I’ll have to think about, but on the ice I try not to think too much and just go play," Hodgson said. "There’s good players, and like I said just try to fit in and do the best I can."