This coming May is the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Flames moving to Calgary. To commemorate this occasion, we’re counting down the Top 40 Calgary Flames in history.
Coming in at #38 is a man that infamously lost his shoes at the NHL Awards gala, Jiri Hudler.
Way, way back in 2012, the Flames were on the verge of a rebuild. But looking to bolster his lineup, then-general manager Jay Feaster signed free agent winger Jiri Hudler to a four year deal. In retrospect, it might have been the best acquisition he made during his time as GM.
As the saying goes, Hudler was a Flame for a good time, not a long time. He played only two full seasons with the club – 2012-13 was cut short due to a lockout and he was traded at the 2015-16 trade deadline. But during his tenure, he was consistently good and occasionally excellent.
Was Hudler an elite player who made everyone gasp with astonishment? Nope! He frequently disappeared into the background for weeks at a time. Yet he would still find ways to contribute and seemingly always had a point or two to show for every decent outing. He was a great fit on the right side of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan for the better part of two seasons, with his low-key two-way play complementing his teammates’ youthful rambunctiousness on the ice.
Hudler was kind of a weird guy, but at least in Calgary he was a fun kind of weird. He took off his shoes in Las Vegas at the 2015 NHL Awards because his new shoes were uncomfortable. He had a pair of dogs which he dressed up with little dog-sized jerseys labeled Gaudreau and Monahan.
And when his usefulness on the ice was beginning to dwindle and free agency approached, the Flames were able to get a pair of draft picks for him at the trade deadline.
He comes in at #38 due to a couple seasons of borderline excellence.
Arrival: Signed as a free agent (July 2, 2012)
Departure: Traded to Florida in exchange for 2016 second round pick (Tyler Parsons) and 2018 fourth round pick (Demetrious Koumontzis) (February 27, 2016)
Awards: 2015 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy