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.