VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Rookie Cody Hodgson has played in six of Vancouver's 11 playoff games and only twice reached double digits in minutes. He's played the last two games against Nashville, but totaled just 11 minutes and 12 seconds of ice time.
Still, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he appreciates the way Hodgson is handling his limited role and believes he's shown some good signs of being a useful player now, not just in the future.
"Cody is coming along," Vigneault said. "This is a big stage and he's getting an opportunity to play a couple of minutes here and there, but he's shown that he's a smart player. He understands the game at both ends of the rink and I think he's only going to get better."
Vigneault hesitated when he was asked if he thinks Hodgson will be better off as a result of the minimal role he has with the Canucks now.
"I think there are some benefits to playing in the American League, playing big minutes in those pressure situations, just as I think there are benefits to being here and getting used to the surroundings, getting used to the attention," Vigneault said. "I can see benefits on both sides really."
So why is he here instead of with the Manitoba Moose, who are still playing in the Calder Cup Playoffs?
Well, out of necessity, really.
"We needed him," Vigneault said. "When Manny (Malhotra) went down (with a season-ending eye injury) and the end of the season occurred, we thought (Hodgson) could be one of the 12 forwards we could use. That's it."
He has an assist and is a minus-3, but the Canucks are at least getting some use out of him.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl