Flames Sign Jiri Hudler



The Flames announced this afternoon that they have signed ex-Red Wing Jiri Hudler to a 4-year deal worth a total of $16 million ($4M cap hit). Hudler is 28 years old and coming off a season where he scored 25 goals and 50 points for Detroit.

The term and dollar figure isn’t outrageous for a player who can put up a decent amount of points. That said, Hudler is strictly a middle rotation, soft minutes forward. He’s never faced the tough sledding in Detroit and he’s never put up decent possession numbers. His career high in the NHL is 57 points.

Hudler is small, but slick with the puck. He brings creativity that is generally lacking in the Flames line-up. He’s also fills a big hole on the right side behind Jarome Iginla, particularly with David Moss leaving. That’s the good news.

On the other hand, he’s another guy on a long list of players who needs favorable circumstances to succeed. Iginla, Tanguay, Cammalleri and now Hudler are all guys that, ideally, a coach would like to play against second or third liners and start more often in the offensive zone. Add in Cervenka (unkown) and Baertschi (a rookie) and you have a very real need for the team to cobble together a capable shut down line if they want to compete with the other play-off teams in the West.

The addition also gives the Flames 12 forwards up front + Sven, including the yet to be re-signed Mikael Backlund, but not kids Lance Bouma and Roman Horak. That’s a lot of NHLers, so someone might still be on the block.

  • T&A4Flames

    @ Baalzamon

    “it’s easier to compete against big + skilled teams if you’re just as skilled but smaller than if you’re just as big but slow, stupid, and stone-handed.”

    That just sounds very poetic to me. I like it.

  • T&A4Flames

    @ Spot The Loon

    Sure it’s pretty empty; which is as much a reason to not blow it up as any. We just wouldn’t have the pieces to insert into the line up to help keep us being anything other than embarrasing.

    OTT had success this year because they already had a stocked prospect pool. The trades they made 2 deadlines ago just helped supplement that pool. We would be starting from scratch. Given the path Feaster et all are on, I could argue that we have as much potential to be competitive enough for the cup before the Oilers are. As I said, both our retool and the Oilers rebuild will take a few years, but at least we are staying competitive. We just have to hope that our drafting has improved and continues to improve.

  • everton fc


    “it’s easier to compete against big + skilled teams if you’re just as skilled but smaller than if you’re just as big but slow, stupid, and stone-handed.”


    Are we more “skilled” with Hudler? Is he more “skilled” than Jokinen? He’s certainly not a better skater than Jokinen.

    I don’t think we are just-as-skilled as the bigger, skilled squads. Not yet.

  • Love Monkey

    I dunno man. I’d take four years of suckage to have the young guns the Oilers have right now. As a Flames fan, it’s hard to watch Feaster ruin this team while the slow development of a winner takes shape up north. How obnoxious will they be when they finish higher than us this year with a bunch of kids…

    • BurningSensation

      A team can change it’s core by means other than trading out all productive assets and drafting new ones. Prolonged awfulness is not a strategy, and outside of expansion teams (that are born awful), teams that embrace such a strategy are inept and poorly run.

      Feaster has made all the right moves in the right order IMO.

      – Improve talent acquisition and dvelelopment. He hired a top notch talent evaluator in Weisbrod, embraced an advanced stats approach with Chris Snow, repopulated the farm team with decent talent (Byron, Kolanos) so that prospects wouldn’t be developed in a losing environment, and collected draft picks for his scouting staff to use. Feaster has already drafted as many players in the 2nd rnd as Sutter did in his entire term.

      – Move out bad contracts, bring n more youthful assets. Kotalik’s cap killer deal is gone. Regehr’s bad contract is gone. Etc.

      – place young players in a position to succeed. Brodie got sent back down a year ago not because he wasn’t good enough, but because nobody develops well getting abused by bigger stronger players. The extra time on the farm did him good, and he projects better as a result.

      – Acquire young assets cheaply. Jones, Aliu, Comeau, etc. Even the Bourque/Cammalleri deal mades us a couple years younger.

      – Patch holes in free agency with targeted acquisitions. PP QB who can play big minutes. Check. Scoring winger who drives possession. Check. Hard minutes d-man for the bottom pair. Check.

      It’s easy, if contemptible, to look at prolonged losing as a strategy, but good organizations never go that route. Only bad ones do. No GM, player, or ownership if they have a shred of self respect would deliberately embrace losing.

      No fan with a shred of self respect would either.

      Why don’t I worry about the Oilers? Because the same idiots who drove their boat into the reef are still around spending the insurance check they got for doing so. ( I do like Stu MacGregor though, his head is on straight). Eventually Hall, The Nuge et al, will be damn fine players, but I will give odds that they succeed somewhere other than the Oilers.

      • RexLibris

        I disagree with your first statement in that teams that embrace the strategy of finishing low and drafting high are necessarily poorly run. Some are, but some teams that continually try to climb over the hurdle to elite status are just as improperly managed.

        It can take an element of objectivity and, to some extent courage, to admit mediocrity and take the hard road to improve.

        I do agree with you in that Feaster has made some good moves in taking the team into the analytics fold and seemingly expanding the scouting departments.

        For as many bad contracts that Feaster has moved out, I’m of the opinion that he has replaced with some of his own. The Sarich, Wideman, and Babchuk contracts either have been or likely will become, millstones equal to anything that Regehr’s contract posed.

        He has, thus far, not gone as far down the road of contractual lunacy that Darryl Sutter did in his Stajan and Kotalik contracts. Not certain if that is praise or not.

        I also agree in that Feaster has located and acquired some good youthful support players, though none that can help to rejuvenate the core of the team.

        Could you identify for me more than one good organization that never has gone the route of continual losing in order to draft key players?

        Were I a Flames fan my biggest concern about Feaster’s moves would be that, while he has done a good job in proactively pursuing the second-tier of free agents and bypassing the insanity of signing Suter and Parise, in the end this does not address the fundamental problem with the team: the need to add elite players to and aging core.

        Why do you suppose that the Oilers will be unable to retain their youthful core when nearly every other team that has gone the same route has?

  • albertabeef

    your team needed a rebiuld 2 years ago…right now you are just reshuffling the chairs on the Titanic. Another year of finishing 10th – if Kipper stays healthy.

  • T&A4Flames

    @ Love Monkey

    4 years of “suckage” is no gaurantee to developing a winner. So ask yourself, are you ok with 6 years of suckage, or 7….

    Or ask yourself would you rather watch meaningful hockey in February, March & April with a chance of PO and hopefully improvement over those years, or watch pointless hockey after January with potential to see no improvement in those years.

    I don’t know about you but watching the Flames this year I was on the edge of my seat during those months.

  • T&A4Flames

    @ BurningSensation

    I completely agree eith all your points. I particularly enjoy the part about aquiring assets to improve the AHL team. Our draftess will progress in a winning atmospere as apposed to a losing one.

  • T&A4Flames

    I agree to a point on acquiring players for the AHL team. You want to Augment your AHL team with some older more realiable veterans, but at the same time, you don’t want to fill your top 2 lines and top two D pairings with career AHL and leave your real prospects down the depth chart, even if they are winning all the time, they do need minutes to develop.