Canucks prospect Hodgson captures junior award
Brampton Battalion forward named OHL most outstanding player
It appears Vancouver Canucks management made the right move sending top forward prospect Cody Hodgson back to junior hockey for further development.
Hodgson was named the Ontario Hockey League's most outstanding player on Tuesday for stellar play and intelligent leadership.
Hodgson bested his 85-point performance of a year ago with 43 goals and 49 assists for 92 points in 53 regular-season games this year.
The 19-year-old from Markham, Ont., received 161 points in most valuable player voting, 46 more than John Tavares of the London Knights.
"It's a real honour and something I didn't really expect coming in [to this season] but looking at past things that I've won this will always be something I remember," said Hodgson, who won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2009 world junior hockey championship.
In this year's playoffs, Hodgson has nine goals and 27 points in 16 games for the Battalion, who open the best-of-seven OHL final at Windsor on Wednesday.
The Canucks' decision to send the 2008 first-round pick (10th overall) back to the junior ranks to improve his speed and pace seems to be paying off.
"There's a reason I didn't make it in Vancouver and there's things in my game I could work on," said Hodgson, who also won the OHL's most sportsmanlike player award as chosen by the league's coaches. "I really didn't see it as a setback. I feel I really improved this year and I had a lot of fun with the guys."
Hodgson led Canada in scoring at the world juniors in Ottawa with 16 points (5-11) and was named to the tournament all-star team.
"He exemplifies the three things that we had clearly focused upon, which are character, leadership and skill," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said of Hodgson, who signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Vancouver last October.
"We feel he's on his way to becoming an elite-level National Hockey League player and a member of the Canucks."
Previous winners of the OHL most outstanding player award include Frank Mahovlich (Toronto, 1957), Stan Mikita (St. Catharines, 1959), Mike Foligno (Sudbury, 1979), Doug Gilmour (Cornwall, 1983), Jason Allison (London, 1994) and Brad Boyes (Erie, 2001, 2002).