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Flames sign Jiri Hudler for four years, $16M

Jul 2, 2012, 3:54 PM EDT

Jiri Hudler AP

While the rest of the league waits for the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter dominoes to fall, the Calgary Flames seem content to march to the beat of their own drum. That tune apparently amounts to spending surprising amounts of money; Darren Dreger reports that the Flames scooped up hot-and-cold forward Jiri Hudler with a four-year, $16 million contract.

This adds another layer of risk on what is clearly not a rebuild in Calgary. GM Jay Feaster acquired Dennis Wideman for big money and re-upped Blake Comeau, Lee Stempniak and Cory Sarich (among other anti-white flag moves). The Flames now have about $4.26 million in cap space remaining, according to Cap Geek.

Will Hudler live up to his $4 million cap hit? That’s a tough question.

On one hand, he has the talent that left the Detroit Red Wings clamoring during his one-year exodus overseas. When things come together, he can be a dangerous talent. He has two 20-plus goal campaigns to his credit (including 25 goals and 50 points last season).

That being said, he’s frequently described as “frustrating,” which isn’t exactly promising for a Flames team that often doesn’t play to the level of its paychecks. Considering the term and money involved, this is a situation that could go negative – fast.

What do you think, though? Is this a big move for a Flames team that needs a more diverse offensive attack or a risky deal that is likely to blow up in Calgary’s face?

  1. karlm144 - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Given Calgary’s recent history (I live here), it’s hard to see it not blowing up. He’s not a game-changer and the last thing the Flames need is another inconsistent forward. To me, it feels like most things around have felt for years – signing players without a overall plan. It’s almost as if management makes moves just so the fan base will see that they’re doing something.

    Calgary is not a playoff team – close like last year, but not quite good enough. I don’t see how any of these signing make them good enough for that to change. Beyond Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff, they have some solid NHL Players (Michael Cammalleri, Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen, Alex Tanguay, etc.), but that wasn’t enough to get them to the playoffs and now that everyone is a year older, adding Jiri Hudler doesn’t to me give them the extra 5-6 points they need.

    Hiring a coach who won a Stanley Cup over 10 years ago is also questionable. They tried that with Mike Keenan and we know that worked out. I hope they make the playoffs because it does energize the city and the fans here are great. Then again this is a team that, since the 1989 Stanley Cup, has won three playoff series in 23 years and those were all in 2004.

  2. michiganhockey11 - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    As a Wings fan, I just caught this and I couldn’t help but laugh for about 10 minutes. 4 years for $16 million? Yeah, this won’t blow up in face…..

    • polegojim - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      I don’t konw about a complete blow up, but he’ll play as he always has… soft and inconsistent – NO WAY worth 4 mil per year.

      Basicallly, they’re saying he’s worth Brodeur money – Not

      Calgary = Colorado in future planning…
      1) signing guys that perennial Stanley Cup contenders have passed on
      2) overpaying guys who are tops on their team…. but WAY underperforming according to the league
      3) Sadly thinking that somehow, it will ALL work out.

  3. johnguelff - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Everyone hates him..watch him put up 65 points on a top line..i am very mad detroit didnt resign him..he made a mistake going to the khl ..now he is hated..he is a pure scorer..good for him..

    • michiganhockey11 - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      He might put up 65 points in his first season, then the multiple personality disorder returns and the next season he’ll have 25 points. You don’t pay that kind of jack for inconsistency. That’s why a lot of Wings fans couldn’t stomach what he was getting.

      • polegojim - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        BINGO Michigan Hockey.

        @John – 25 goals is a pure scorer? I’d take that from him if he was a game changer in other ways like Hank…. but he’s not even remotely an overpowering factor on the ice… in any way.

        I got no issues with Jiri, just not worth 4 mil p/y. Good for him tho, he got the money!

  4. lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    What exactly is Feaster trying to do? It’s like watching someone make a puzzle when you haven’t seen the picture on the box. In fact, I wonder if the puzzle-builder knows what that picture is either.

  5. claysbar - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Well at least they didn’t give him a NTC, at least it’s not listed. Because, you know, with having 11 players on the team already that have one, one more would just be overkill…..

    • claysbar - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Sorry, some sort of NTC/NMC.

  6. blomfeld - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    “What do you think, though?” …

    Here’s what I think … the decent folk in Calgary will now see their team go from bad to pathetic ! This signing is not only a disgrace, even worse, it’s an outright “slap in the face” to all loyal and values-driven Flames fans everywhere. However, even more disappointing is the fact that almost the entire Canadian landscape is now littered with “miserable” failing teams. The Canucks of course are the lone exception and they will improve significantly once Luongo is kicked to the curb. But apart from them, it doesn’t look so good these days up here in Canada … and that bugs me, as it’s not supposed to be that way … :(

  7. hockinj25 - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    When he was good, he was really good. I enjoyed watching Hudler here in Detroit but he’s too one-dimensional in my opinion. Going to the KHL didn’t help. $4 mil a year is a bit much but then again everybody is getting overpaid.

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    As a Flames fan I’m frustrated, they aren’t trying to build a team that can compete for Vancouver’s President’s Trophy and then further on into the playoffs (you know where Vancouver no shows) instead they look to be building a team with the desperate hope that maybe they can get to 8th and get 2 or 3 playoff games. Feaster is quickly looking like he’s no more qualified for the job than Sutter was (Darryl is a great coach horrific GM) I just pray that they bring in John Davidson so they’ll have a bright and qualified mind in position when this blows up in their faces and they fire Feaster after the season.

  9. ikillchicken - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    “Another sign they aren’t rebuilding…”

    …but should be.

    Calgary fans (or more accurately, Calgary management) needs to ask themselves one simple question: Does this team have the core players to be successful? The answer is a resounding NO. And if you don’t have that then you have to accept that you never will until you rebuild properly. All you’re going to accomplish in the mean time is adding a bunch of mediocre and over-payed free agents that won’t really fix the underlying problem.

  10. bigkattruthserum - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Huds won’t have a season worth 4 million for 3 more years, or next contract season. It was a common theme for him in Detroit, he only played when it mattered to his pay. Proved his greediness by bolting for the KHL. Shame too the guy has the talent but no drive.

  11. claysbar - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    As much as I hate to agree with all the talking heads on TV, but this team totally missed the boat by keeping Iginla and Kipper. The return they could have got even 2 years ago would have given them a boatload of prospects and picks combined with not trying too eek into the playoffs would have improved their own draft spots that would have stocked this team for years. Every year they keep putting $2000 into a $500 car. I wonder if Howson and Feaster have a running bet on who’s gonna get canned first.

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