As NHL clubs put the finishing touches on their rosters this week, the Vancouver Canucks gave the Brampton Battalion a large lineup boost.
Centre Cody Hodgson, the Canadian Hockey League player of the year last season, yesterday was returned to the struggling Ontario Hockey League club by the Canucks.
"I was surprised by their decision," Battalion director of hockey operations/coach Stan Butler said. "But when you get a player back of that status, it greatly helps our team."
Hodgson suffered a bulging disc in his back during a summer training session, and though he played in six pre-season games for Vancouver, his skating was hampered because of the injury.
In 53 games for the Battalion last year, Hodgson -- the Canucks' first-round pick, 10th overall in 2008 -- had 43 goals and 49 assists. The 19-year-old was an integral force in Canada's gold-medal victory at the world junior last winter, leading the tournament in scoring, and he is the odds-on favourite to be Canada's captain at the 2010 world junior in Saskatchewan.
The Battalion went to the OHL final last spring for the first time in team history, but sits last in the OHL with three losses in three games and has scored just four goals. If healthy, Hodgson should dominate the OHL. Butler had not talked to Hodgson and it was unclear when the Markham native would make his debut for the Battalion.