Canucks like Cody Hodgson

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

It's easy to see why people are already labeling Cody Hodgson as a future leader.

The 18-year-old first round Vancouver draft pick is well-spoken, mature and was surprisingly calm during his first ever NHL training camp this past weekend.

Just ask his camp linemate Steve Bernier.

"It doesn't seem like he's nervous and its fun to play with a guy like this," said Bernier. "He can see everybody on the ice very well and he's very good offensively. We can see that he's going to be a very good player."

It seems too that Canucks' management has every intention of providing Hodgson with plenty of playing time to prove himself before a decision has to be made on whether he'll return to the OHL or stay with the NHL club for the rest of the season.

And that showcase begins tonight against the Edmonton Oilers at GM Place, as the Toronto native will be centering a line of Pavol Demitra and Bernier.

"It's a great opportunity and hopefully I can impress them enough so that I can stick," said Hodgson. "I feel pretty comfortable. Not too much really phases me right now and hopefully that continues as the season goes on."

It would no doubt be a major plus for both sides if Hodgson can earn himself a permanent roster spot, especially since the Canucks are in dire need of more offense.

But for now, the prospect has only one thing on his mind, "I'm here to stay and that's my goal."