Jiri Hudler, Re-Introducing Your Calgary Flames


Dec 19, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff (23) and Calgary Flames left wing Jiri Hudler (24) fight for position in front of Detroit goalie Jonas Gustavsson (50) at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In 2008, Jiri Hudler won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.  It took the Red Wings 22 playoff games to finally raise the precious cup and Jiri Hudler did his part contributing 5 goals and 9 assists.

A quote from the July 2, 2012 article introducing the Calgary Flames free agent signing of Jiri Hudler:

"“Jiri Hudler is a highly skilled and dynamic offensive player,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “He is one of the very best goal scorers in the NHL at even strength and he puts a very high percentage of his shots on net, generating scoring chances for himself and rebound opportunities for his teammates. He fits our need to upgrade and improve our skill and we are very pleased to have him on board.”"

From a July 9, 2012 Bleacher Report article “6 players who could shift the balance of power”,

"After the acquisition of Jiri Hulder, expect Calgary to improve…Hudler played like a top-six forward last season for Detroit and Calgary is expecting that same type of performance next season. Last season, Hudler scored 25 goals while adding 25 assists as a dynamic offensive presence for the Wings.Although Hudler struggles on the defensive end, his scoring contributions should help improve the Calgary Flames who were offensively challenged last season…”"

Jiri Hudler put up 10 goals and 17 assists during his lockout shortened first season with our Calgary Flames.  Last season, Hudler put up 17 goals and 37 assists for a team leading 54 points.  The 37 assists were a NHL career high in a season for Mr. Hudler.

I feel Jiri Hudler is underappreciated though.  Sure most websites list Hudler as a first line player for the Calgary Flames but it almost has a “default” feel to it.  Doing research about Hudler feels akin to researching a stay-at-home defenseman.  I don’t read excitement about Hudler, I read he gets the job done.  Am I wrong for believing fans should be more excited about the 30 year old Czech?

Looking at projected first lines of Pacific Division teams via Rotoworld, other than the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, I believe Hudler would keep his first line player status.  If you disagree, please post your opinion in the comment box.

Hudler is signed through this season and next season.  I can’t shake this feeling he will be missed more than he was appreciated.