By John Vogl
Cody Hodgson, clad in a Sabres practice sweater, skated with a bunch of his Buffalo teammates today. He hopes he’s still on the ice with them next week when training camp starts.
The Sabres’ second-leading scorer is without a contract just days away from the opening of the 2013-14 season. The restricted free agent is coming off his entry-level deal that paid $1.66 million annually, with $787,500 in base salary and $850,000 in bonuses, according to CapGeek.com. The center turned down Buffalo’s qualifying offer of $826,875.
“I like it here, and we’ll get something done,” Hodgson told The News in First Niagara Center.
The team and agent Ritch Winter, who had numerous squabbles when Winter represented Dominik Hasek, have been unable to find common ground.
“I don’t know how much it’s going to help if I comment on it now,” Hodgson said. “I’m just going to let them do their thing. I’d rather just leave it up to them.”
The Sabres have a history of going down to the wire with their big-name RFAs, including Drew Stafford, who signed on the second day of training camp in 2009.
“He told me he was just about going on the ice when he signed his contract,” Hodgson said. “I know Tyler Ennis was right up to the last minute, too. I’m excited to be here, and I’m just focusing on what I’ve got to do to get ready for the training camp.”
The 23-year-old Hodgson recorded 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games with the Sabres. His point total trailed only the 41 put up by winger Thomas Vanek.
“Hopefully, we can get Cody signed because I thought we had some good chemistry at the end,” Vanek said today. “But again, that’s the business side of it that his agent and the Sabres need to figure out. Hopefully, he’s here. If not, we’ll have to find somebody else just like I found him before.”