Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson signed his first professional contract Sunday, a sign the centre could become the first top draft pick to crack the Vancouver lineup since Petr Nedved in 1990.

Hodgson, 18, has one assist in three NHL pre-season games with the Canucks, who open the regular campaign Thursday against the Calgary Flames (CBC, 7 p.m. PT).

"Cody has done what we expected him to do," said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. "He came [to training camp] really well prepared.

"Cody is a mature young man and he showed us everything we need to see to sign him."

The Haliburton, Ont., native scored 40 goals and 85 points last season with the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, and added five goals in five first-round playoff games.

The 10th overall pick of the 2008 NHL entry draft also served as captain of the Canadian team that won gold at the 2008 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, scoring two goals and adding a tournament-high 10 assists.

At the 2007 Canada Winter Games, Hodgson won a gold medal with Team Ontario.