Jiri Hudler: WOWY-Zowee?


With the acquisition of Jiri Hudler yesterday, there’s been a lot of hemming and hawing about how good he actually is. Are his goals and underlyings merely a result of being on a very very good Detroit team? Or was he helping drive the engine of that Detroit team and other players benefited from him?

Thanks to David Johnson’s incredibly powerful stats.hockeyanalysis.com website which has easy to access WOWY tables, we can actually gain some insight into that.






















Those are some very good numbers. That line basically averaged 19+ Corsi events for in every twenty minutes of icetime and 16ish against, giving approximately a +3 Corsi event per 20 minutes rate.

Still, Zetterberg is an excellent player, and Filppula pretty good as well – how does Hudler stand up without them?






















Surprisingly well. His Corsi ratio without Filppula is actually better, and it only takes a small step back without Zetterberg. That’s darn good news. On the downside, most of the step back without Zetterberg is in the defensive area, as the CF/20 increases. In fact, that’s a particularly ugly CA/20. Still, the overall Corsi ratio is good, which means we should have little cause to worry. Which brings me to the third table: Filppula and Zetterberg without Hudler:























Here we can see that Filppula is actually pretty bad without Hudler, giving up more Corsi events than he generates- while Zetterberg is far and away an elite player. However, given that Hudler and Filppula spent more time together than Hudler and Zetterberg, we can probably assume that Zetterberg’s time away from Hudler was also time away from Filppula. 

What about the rest of the team? As a proxy for the whole of the Red Wings, I used Jimmy Howard since he played the vast majority of minutes and is on ice for everything.























This is what’s rather telling, in that it shows very little change: Hudler is a good player who adds to offense, but his defense can be somewhat suspect. I’d expect it’s a wash overall though.

So what can circumstances for the line tell us?

Actually, very little. While all three played the “tough” zone starts- tough zone starts in Detroit are like cold summers in Puerto Rico. Hudler, Zetterberg, and Filppula had Offensive Zone Start percentages of 55.8%, 54.5%, and 53.8% respectively, and were in the bottom five forwards for OZ% (rounded out by Datsyuk and Bertuzzi). Similarly, QualComp tells us equally little, with Zetterberg playing the second toughest competition on the Red Wings and Filppula and Hudler coming in 5th and 6th out of 12 forwards with more than 50 games respectively. There’s a reason players suddenly look a lot better when they land in Detroit (and usually worse after they leave).

Hudler is not really a player to excel against the “toughs”, though he might outplay them decently enough. Instead, he’s a high offensive player who needs good circumstances for anything more than mediocre results. His contract is only a mild overpayment, but unfortunately, not really what Calgary needs right now given their greatest weakness is forwards who can outplay otehr team’s big guns.

  • loudogYYC

    Calgary’s need is obvious. Elite players.

    If they were easier to come by, I wouldn’t be such a fan of the Hudler signing. For now though, it’s probably as good as its gonna get for Hartley and the team. The only improvement I can think of right now would be signing Jeff Halpern for his face-offs and 3rd/4th line minutes.

  • beloch

    How does this signing look when you consider that the price was probably Jokinen leaving town? Joker probably would have re-signed with the Flames for what Hudler is making.

  • Im going to take a deeper look at Hudler’s DET career to give us a clearer picture.

    It’s tough to WOWY DET players because guys like Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom and (somewhat) Franzen are high tide – they raise all the other ships.

  • everton fc

    As Pat Steinberg pointed out this morning, Hudler played 3rd line minutes in Detroit.

    He’ll be asked to play 2nd line minutes here.

    Something to consider.

    Also – Detroit’s play-by-play guy stated Hudler’s not the best skater. Something else to consider.

    Still… We need scoring. I hope he can score. Detroit’s play-by-play guy seems to conclude Hudler won’t score the same # of points here, he did in Detroit.

    Which is why I still hope we make a play for either Semin, or Ryan, via trade. Then, I’m content with Hudler.

  • BurningSensation

    A hard minutes center like Halpern would be a solid acquisition, but who moves out to create the room for him? Backlund?

    Truthfully, the cards seem to be in play for some sort of trade. We have a glut of D-Men; 9 one way contracts, and a 10th D-man in Brodie who will likely stick – so something somewhere is going to give on the blue line.

    All the speculation has been on J-Bo, but I don’t think he gets moved unless the return is substantial (Nash or more likely Ryan, but perhaps a pkg of prospects/picks).

    I don’t see a Semin signing unless a trade happens first. Semin is a winger, and with Hudler on board the obvious hole in he top six has been filled.

    • He was second on his team in scoring that year. First was…Mattias Weinhandl. Remember him? Third was Linus Omark (36 points).

      Im guessing that was the top line for Moscow that year.

      EDIT – beaten to the punch by Arik.

  • BurningSensation

    So basically, this article tells us what we already knew: Hudler is better than Filppula and worse than Zetterberg.

    I think it’s fair to assume his numbers will be down next season. Somewhere in the 40-45 pt range seems likely. That isn’t a huge decline from last year, though, and the quality of players he’s with seems to be … um… substantially worse. Although the “better without Filppula” thing is encouraging.

    re Jokinen, I’m surprised he only signed for 2 years. Makes me think…

  • just occurred to me that Hudler might play on a line with Glencross and Backlund. 2 good possession forwards with one not-so-good one who can score. Backlund might actually put up points with those guys. They might be reasonably good agianst toughies since Glencross definitely has experience doing that, and Backlund sort of does.

    that leaves something like Baertschi – Cervenka – Stempniak though.. Maybe it’ll be Cammy instead..

    • Wax Man Riley

      I think Hudler with Backlund and GlenX makes a pretty formidable 2nd line, however seeing Baertschi with Cervenka kinda scared me. They may be good offensive options, but will need either very good defense to play with or a very defensive minded center.

      Having 2 newbies will mean they bleed chances, and being a bit undersized might mean easily beat in the corners, not to mention lack of experience.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    So, if I was complaining would I be hemming or hawing?

    These results are better than I expected, but they leave me worried. There are now a lot of defensively irresponsible players. If Bouwmeester is dealt . . . Oh boy!

  • MC Hockey

    Hopefully the Flames have done themselves a favor with the addition of Hudler.

    Folks saying he is not that skilled are now proved wrong by the above which shows how strong he is.

    And I personally don’t worry about his size – 5’10 is not tiny and does not matter much if you are talented (think Martin St. Louis at 5’6)…also this stuff about his skating skill is overblown. Silly commentators LOL!!

    • Wax Man Riley

      He’s definitely talented but he’s hardly a slam-dunk. Sure his corsi numbers look good – pretty much everyone on that team has great numbers. I’m a little concerned with his defensive game and the fact that his good numbers last year were floated by shooting almost 20%.

      Last year, the Wings were scored on 0.8goals/60 mins more with him on the ice (admittedly, so was Zetterberg).

      I also don’t really see him having a SH% over 15% again this year, which is going to bite into his production.

      Overall, if you’re not going to get Parise, and you’re not going to get Semin, then Hudler’s probably the best of the rest. He’s a good pick-up, but again, he’s hardly going to turn the team into a contender.

      • Wax Man Riley

        I agree. Players’ shooting percentages always tend to revert to the mean. I can’t see him duplicating 19.7% when his career average is 13.7%.

        He will be closer to that this year, and hopefully not evening that out by dropping below 10% like he has in the past.

    • Wax Man Riley

      I don’t know MC….

      Hudler is skilled, and I have always liked him, but with Cammy, Baertschi, Hudler, Cervenka, Stempniak….

      ..Ask Oil town how it has worked out having those skilled players? Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano, Comrie, Omark…..

  • MC Hockey

    If Flames want to get over the hump into the playoffs their going to need more speed , grit , youth , size and better talented forwards . They need a major do over for the first time in a long time . They no longer look like a playoff contender . Feaster on bubble ?

    • Wax Man Riley

      Ya, I saw someone comment on another thread yesterday that Calgary may have lost their “tough to play against” identity.

      they have been such a hard working team in the past, if that can be kept up, they might have a chance.

      Also, like usual, Kipper will need to get the most wins in the league by playing out of this world for 70 games again.

  • We fans are really hard to please.

    Lots of comments about losing grit and toughness. Even some saying we won’t have the hard working identity.

    Well I hate to be the guy who says this, but we haven’t been tough & gritty or hard to play against for the last two seasons.

    As for the demand for big skilled players. Well true, we do need those. Problem is there aren’t any available.

    Feaster is making due with what’s available to him. I don’t know how much I like it, I’ll let the season do that. But I do like the fact he is trying to do something, and something different from what the flames fans are used to.

    • loudogYYC

      Absolutely true. I’d go as far as 3 years ago that the Clubhouse/Country Club attitude kicked in and now the Flames become doormats once they’re pushed around a bit. I personally think Iginla as a leader doesn’t do much to address this, but that’s another story.

      The positive side of me thinks Hartley will light a fire under enough asses and get most of the guys to buy in and play an intense team game.
      The negative side thinks it’ll be the exact same as it was with Brent Sutter.
      The realistic side of me has no effin clue what to expect next season.

  • Wax Man Riley


    “Well I hate to be the guy who says this, but we haven’t been tough & gritty or hard to play against for the last two seasons.”

    took the words right out of my… er, fingers. Exactly what I was thinking.

    I enjoy watching high-speed, hard-hitting, awesome all-around hockey as much as the next guy, but with what’s available to the Flames… I’d rather have a team of smurphs that can skate and handle the puck than a team of Trollocs running around with their heads cut off occasionally slamming people into the boards.

  • Heres my thoughts:
    I like because: Flames need players coming from teams with cultures of winning. Guy is skillful and can play. He will help.
    I dont like it because: think its a little more than his worth (But thats what youre gonna pay), was he good because of the team. Looked at his history, played good in contract years. Small guy, cant skate well. Very questionable. Not what really Calgary needs.
    That being said over the past week have the Flames improved? Hmmm nah not really i think there are more questions. Wait till December or January.

    • loudogYYC

      “Small guy, cant skate well.”

      they only say that because he doesn’t have the blazing speed little guys are usually famous for. You could say the same thing about Cammalleri and Cervenka. All three are extremely quick though.

  • everton fc

    In fairness to those of us who think we may be a lineup that gets pushed around a bit…

    I don’t think those in this same camp want a bunch of mutts who simply bump and grind. A team of Jackman’s, a team of Aliu’s or Desbiens… No one is saying this is what they want.

    A team sprinkled with guys like Gaustad, who can actually play tough and also win faceoffs… A team of guys like Ryan Clowe… James Neal… Guys like David Clarkson… Even a guy like Cal Clutterbuck (who I almost can’t stand, but who can also put up points)… Brandon Dubinsky’s another… I’d even toss Engelland and Allen in the mix, on defence…

    These are the type of players people are talking about.

    Fact is, the Flames of the last three years have no fight in them. No killer instinct. One of the things Moss did well was go places on the ice no one else would.

    The Flames don’t have these types of players. Clearly. What I’m hoping for is a return to this type of personnel, this philosophy. May take time. May take trades.

    So be it. But we need guys who care. Have skill. Show they care every shift. And who can back it up.

    So if we all sort of agree this is the type of hockey we prefer, because it usually translates to winning hockey…

    All that said, a look at the Wings… Could contradict this. But they got tossed from the playoffs pretty quick by Nashville, and have since signed Tootoo.

    I do like the fact Hudler’s been on a winner his whole career. This is important. Very important, indeed. And I get this sense Semin will produce like he did before, when he moves on, if the situation’s right. Which is why I hope we are still looking at him. Even if he has no grit!

  • RKD

    The good thing about Hudler is that he scored 22 of his 25 goals on even strength. I’m more interested in knowing how many of those were on the road. I think Jiri could be a guy to get things goings on those nights when the top line isn’t going.

    On the flipside, only 3 were pp goals so I hope he can step up his pp production or set up other players.

    Too bad the Flames were not able to get any return for Jokinen in a trade.

  • loudogYYC

    I just want to say that as someone who has lived in Vancouver for 7 years, it’s really nice to read intelligent discussion about our Flames online. Goddamn I hate these Canuck bastards. Carry on.

  • Captain Ron


    “The realistic side of me has no effin clue what to expect next season”

    I’m definitely in your boat.

    A bit more optimistic than I was but in your boat for sure.

    I still want to see a decent center come in who has proven he can play tough minutes in the NHL and win more faceoffs than he loses. Then I’ll be a bit more comfortable with an optimistic approach.

  • Captain Ron


    “Too bad the Flames were not able to get any return for Jokinen in a trade”

    Didn’t Olli refuse to waive his NTC at the deadline last season? If that is true then no doubt he screwed us out of getting something of value in return for him. Pisses me off to think about it. If anything I think the Flames were pretty good to him in his time here. Besides the money it cost us way too much to get him in the first, and second place. I for one am happy the saga of him is over. Worst hockey IQ I have seen in the NHL in long time.

    • RKD

      Possible, but you have to remember if Feaster saw that his team could make the playoffs then it would be in the best interest to keep Jokinen.

      However, that type of thinking keeps hurting the Flames down the road. Regardless of Feaster’s ‘fool me’ comments. He has a mandate to keep the team competitive.

      Heck, maybe ownership refused Feaster to trade Jokinen because they thought they could squeak into 8th.

  • MC Hockey

    Two notes for those who want Flames to upgrade their gritiness:

    1. Too bad a decent player not added for “free” in Taylor Pyatt, a UFA who signed with NYR today….the guy had decent advanced stats when compared with the younger UFA forfwards on the market (see my Jetsnation article). He can score with the right guys feeding him (Sedins back in Vancouver I believe) and probably stand in front of the net with his hugeness. NYR gets better again and will be a Cup contender.

    2. I think Feaster is likely to trade for a bigger forward for the top 9. The rumors about JayBo and Backlund leaving may possibly be true (or just someone’s wishful thinking) but we have several “decent” defenseman (10 signed to one-ways) plus some extra forwards of all types. Personally I don’t want to see JayBo and Backlund gone…JayBo plays tough minutes quite well and Backlund may break out!

  • MC Hockey

    @ Wax Man Riley…nice screen name…do you own a candle shop, or raise bees, or something? Anyways…you may be right about size-over-skill concerns…but I think Feaster will address the size issue this summer when the chance is there (but perhaps not till later in July or even Aug/Sept). I would LOVE to see Bobby Ryan here….but this is NOT a rumor to spread, just an idea.

    • Wax Man Riley


      I’m going to tell Ecklund about this!!

      If Ryan wants out of ANA, and land sin CGY, depending what is given up, you would think The Flames would have to be a playoff contender (as long as Iggy, Tanguay, and Kipper stay).

      As for Wax Man, for some fun on the side, I make Wax Hands at different fairs and festivals in Alberta.

      I’m usually always in Calgary at The International Children’s Festival at the end of May. I skipped this year, since my Wax Lady was 9 months pregnant at the time and I couldn’t risk Wax Junior being born in Calgary 😉

      But we will be back next year.

  • MC Hockey

    @ mattyc…you made my point. Hudler is best of the rest if availability is not there for Parise (not likely at all I believe) or Semin (probably not I believe). So Flames did what theye could, just like with the Wideman move.

  • MC Hockey

    @ Wax Man Riley. Thanks for the update on the wax stuff…I also have a young one as the picture shows. Congrats to you and the rest of the ?Riley I assume? family….perhaps we will see you at the next Children’s fest! Oh…and while we are being friendly, please send all your buddies, especially Manitobans to the Jetsnation site (link in top right corner)…some good articles that are general for all NHL fans and very good writers (most better than me) on there.