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Flames GM Feaster: “Now we’ll get accused that the top two lines have too many Czechs”

Jul 3, 2012, 4:44 PM EDT

Jay Feaster AP

Jay Feaster’s faced a fair amount of criticism since taking over as Calgary Flames GM.

His response? Brush it off with a chuckle.

“I have to laugh,” Feaster said during Monday afternoon’s conference call. “The perception is that the front office is too full of Americans, and behind the bench now is too full of French Canadians, and now we’ll get accused that the top two lines have too many Czechs.”

This, of course, was in response to Feaster signing a pair of Czech skaters: Roman Cervenka — who spent last year in the KHL — and Jiri Hudler, who scored 25 goals for Detroit in 2011-12.

(The Flames only had one Czech skater last year: Roman Horak, who played 61 games in a mostly bottom-six role.)

The deals came under fire for two particular reasons. One, Cervenka and Hudler didn’t come cheap and are a combined $7.75 million cap hit in 2012-13.

Two, they’re both big questions marks.

Cervenka, 26, has no NHL experience. He was a dominant KHL scorer in 2010-11, but was aided by playing alongside Jaromir Jagr — after Jagr bolted to Philly, Cervenka’s production dropped off, going from 61 points to just 39 last year.

Questions also surround the 28-year-old Hudler. He finished second on the Wings in goals (25) last season, yet was seen by many as a byproduct of linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula.

But while some see a red flag, Feaster sees opportunity.

He figures Hudler will be given a more prominent role than the one he had in Detroit (Calgary even plans to use him on the penalty kill) and could flourish like a player he knew from his days in Tampa Bay — Fredrik Modin.

“I’ve thought about it in the same context as when Rick Dudley was the general manager in Tampa,” Feaster explained.

“He acquired Freddy Modin, in his prime, from Toronto. Freddy was playing there in a third-line role. Ultimately, he came to Tampa and he was a top-line guy and scored 30 goals multiple times.

“I’m not comparing the two — but [Hudler] is going to have even more opportunity to flourish in our organization.”

  1. ray2013 - Jul 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I don’t have a problem with Czech players. If they want an all-Czech line-up, go for it. It would at least be an interesting team, which is more than I can say for this team as it is currently composed.

  2. eggserino - Jul 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    No, you’ll just be accused of overpaying for mediocre players. The fact that Detroit didn’t want to resign this guy should’ve been enough to realize that he isn’t a $4m a year player…

    • eggserino - Jul 3, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      Matt D’Agostini of the St. Louis Blues had 4 fewer points last year than Hudler. You know what his cap hit is? $1.65m.

      • jamestshattenkirk - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:14 PM

        D’Agostini had his 46 points in 2010-11, not last season. But, yes, I agree that Calgary looks to have way overpaid.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      They’re busy giving $90 million for a defenseman to replace Lidstrom when that player is nowhere near capable of replacing Lidstrom…no way that signing ends well for Detroit.

    • eggserino - Jul 3, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      Also, to compare Hudler to Modin and what Modin could bring?! Modin was 6’4″ 223 lbs. Hudler is a frickin’ garden gnome by comparison. Good luck getting him to back check, let alone produce on the penalty kill…

  3. charleslouis99 - Jul 3, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Matt d’agostini had like 20 points last year lol
    hudler had 50

    • eggserino - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM

      You’re right. D’Agostini had those numbers THEN signed his two-year $1.65m deal… Makes the Hudler deal look even dumber…

  4. meynbass - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Better than too many jamaicans

  5. vanfoodman - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    Just to clarify something omitted in the article. First off, Cervenka’s contract is a two-way with a base of $925 K at the NHL level and $70 K in the AHL. After lofty bonus targets he gets $3.77 Mill, not before. That, is not a bad contract for The Flames.

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