Rodrigues: Things have 'started to go my way'

Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues joined Schopp and the Bulldog on Wednesday

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February 07, 2019 - 10:04 am

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues is quickly becoming one of the more reliable players on the ice for the team. Just six points shy of his point total from the 2017-2018 season, Rodrigues currently has 19 points (7+12) in 46 games this season. As of late, Rodrigues has been on a hot streak with five points (4+2) in the last six games and averages about 15 minutes per-game.

Rodrigues had a slow start to the 2018-2019 season, recording only eight points in the first 20 games and not scoring his first goal until the 16th game. As 2018 was left behind, so was Rodrigues’ inconsistent play.

“I wasn’t getting the goals or the points that I wanted to early on in the year,” said Rodrigues with  Mike Schopp and the Bulldog on Wednesday. “At the turn of the calendar year, things started to go my way.”

As an undrafted rookie out of the Boston University, Rodrigues committed to Sabres general manager Tim Murray after his impressive senior season in 2014-2015. Rodrigues scored 21 goals and registered 40 assists in 41 games, which was more than his three previous seasons combined.

Less than a week after committing to join the Sabres, Rodrigues found out that he would be sharing a locker room with a familiar face; former college teammate Jack Eichel.

“I came in and felt comfortable having him there, someone to bounce things off of, and my whole time I’ve been here, he’s always been the guy that I can talk to and rely on,” said Rodrigues.

Growing up in Toronto, Rodrigues always dreamt of playing in the NHL, like so many young hockey players do around the world. With that in mind, he realized that there are very few that actually make it to the big show, so his motivation to play came from his love of the sport. He continued to work hard and play the game to the best of his ability with an added chip on his shoulder.

“I’m not gonna lie when I say it’s nice to prove people wrong,” said Rodrigues, reflecting on his journey from the minors to the NHL, “[I] just put my nose to the grindstone and have worked hard from day one and couldn’t be happier right now.” 

Rodrigues' versatility has proven to be useful as Sabres head coach Phil Housley has been mixing up the lines as he tries to improve his team’s production offensively. Housley has played Rodrigues on both wings and at center, depending on the line-up. Different positions come with different responsibilities, and when asked what position he prefers, Rodrigues likes both positions respectively. He wants to be a playmaker when he is playing center, acknowledging that when entering the offensive zone, the play starts with him. Recently, Rodrigues has been playing on the wing and feels that this is where he needs to finish plays as a goal scorer. 

“As a winger, you have a little more creativity and freedom in the offensive zone,” said Rodrigues.

You can listen to the entire interview below:

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