The waiting game for Jiri Hudler appears to be over.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the 32-year-old Czech winger is headed to the Florida Panthers.
Hulder to FLA for a second and a fourth. Done deal
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 27, 2016
Jiri Hudler to Florida in exchange for a 2016 2nd-rounder and a 2018 4th-round pick
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 27, 2016
Hudler is in the fourth and final year of a deal he signed as a free agent that pays him $4 million annually. He was one of the Flames offensive leaders last season, finishing in the top 10 in league scoring and capturing the Lady Byng Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player. He didn’t have nearly as much success this season – at the time of this writing, he’s fifth in team scoring on the Flames – and between that and the flooded market for rental forwards, the return is pretty good for the Flames.
Overall, Hudler put up 192 points in 248 games with the Flames during his tenure.
Presumably this move means that (a) Josh Jooris returns to the Flames line-up tonight and (b) we’re going to see a recall from the AHL’s Stockton Heat prior to the eastern road trip. It also opens up some cap space that will likely ease the cap crunch for the rest of the season and lower the potential of performance bonuses eating away at next year’s already-tight cap budget.