With the 84th pick, the Florida Panthers chose Steven Hodges. Now I know most of you are thinking, OK, well who is this guy and what does this mean for our team? Here’s a little information about the Panthers third round pick in this year’s 2012 Draft.
Steven Hodges is a center standing at 5’11” at 167 pounds. One thing immediately comes to mind, he’s a forward and the Panthers need good forwards. No one can tell whether this guy will be a great player but only time and experience will tell. Obviously he is going to have to get bigger and stronger to be able to compete in the NHL but that is all very possible.
In the 2009-2010 season, Hodges was a first round pick of the Chilliwack Bruins in the WHL Bantam Draft at 9th overall. He played, for the most part, with the Fraser Valley Bruins, a midget major team in British Columbia. He scored 17 goals and 17 assists in 37 games making him the second leading scorer for Fraser Valley. In 2010-2011, he played in 58 games for the Chilliwack Bruins where he had 5 goals and 6 assists with 44 penalty minutes. He also played for Canada Pacific in the U17 World Hockey Challenge where he scored 1 goal with 3 assists. They would go on to win the bronze medal. In this past 2011-2012 season, Hodges played in all 72 games for the new relocated Victoria Royals. He scored 21 goals with 25 assists. He ended the season a minus 29 with 62 penalty minutes.
With Steven Hodges comes speed and the Panthers need speed. He is a quick and agile player with good hands. He is known for having a better pass than shot but can be dangerous when he has room with the puck. His stats aren’t fantastic but stats aren’t always the best estimate of a player’s true ability. He also isn’t the biggest or strongest guy but that can change in a few years with some preparation. Some scouts have called him “soft” in the physical game but we have other players that can take care of that.
I think with the right leadership, Hodges could be a good forward in the future. He obviously needs more preparation and experience playing but once he gets that, adds some size and learns the pace of the NHL, I think he could be a good player for the Panthers.
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