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UFA spotlight — Jiri Hudler

Jun 26, 2012, 12:00 PM EST

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All week leading up to Sunday, July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.

Jiri Hudler (LW)

Age: 28

2011-12 cap hit: $2.875 million

The skinny: 

Coming off a tough 2010-11 campaign — you know, the year after he bolted Detroit to join the KHL — Hudler rebounded nicely last season with 25G-25A-50PTS in 81 games, second amongst all Wings in goals.

On the surface, those numbers should make him one of the more highly sought-after UFAs…but there’s a catch.

Okay, catches.

The first is that Hudler’s bounce-back season was viewed by some as the byproduct of linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Fulppula, Detroit’s first- and third-leading scorers respectively. What happens if, or when, Hudler skates with inferior talent?

The second? There are questions what Hudler can do beyond put the puck in the net.

“Hudler can score, but what else does he bring?” wrote Helen St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “He’s not a great skater. He’s not great in his own zone.”

That said, the Czech native looks to be a fit for any team in need of an offensive punch. Thankfully for him, more than a few teams fit the bill.

Minnesota, Los Angeles, New York Islanders, Florida and Columbus were the five lowest-scoring teams in the NHL last year (the Wild didn’t even have a 25-goal scorer). And regarding the aforementioned reference to Zetterberg/Filppula, it has to be said — when you put Hudler with skill guys, he will produce. Steady offensive output has been his calling card. Teams looking to fill out their top six or add something to the power play will likely kick his tires.

Wondering what Hudler’s market value might be? Do consider that, according to MLive.com, Wings GM Ken Holland wasn’t “apt” to pay him more than Johan Franzen, who has a $3.95 million annual cap hit.

More UFA spotlights

Ryan Suter

Zach Parise

Jason Garrison

  1. bcisleman - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Quite honestly Matt Moulson has been better than Zetterberg these last three years and, while Fulppula may be good, he’s no John Tavares. In short, Hudler would be the perfect replacement for PA Parenteau.

    • thegrindline - Jun 26, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Please tell me you just forgot to say “jk” at the end of that bogus statement.

  2. swvile - Jun 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Matt Moulson better than Zetterberg? Put the pipe down buddy!

    • jpelle82 - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      he said “has been better” not “is better”. numbers dont lie, zetterberg was forgettable last year by his standards. moulson put up same number of pts but a whole lot more goals. you gotta be blind to dismiss a consistent 30 goal scorer, just because he plays for the islanders. its not that much of a stretch….

  3. datsyukdominates - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    As a Wings fan, I’d be happy to have someone other than Hudler. He’s too small, too slow, and is knocked off the puck far too easily. In fact, let’s get rid of Franzen while we’re at it, who seems to sleep walk through half the season.

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