Jiri Hudler is definitely not living up to his expectations he set last year putting up 76 points. He is struggling this year with not only injuries, but the production numbers as well. He is a great leader and mentor for the young kids, which gives him a ton of value hidden beneath the numbers. The Flames could move him in a package deal though, to pick up someone to help them in the long-run. Maybe a package deal for a starting goalie?
|NUMBER:||24||BIRTHDATE:||January 4, 1984 (AGE 32)|
|HEIGHT:||5′ 10″||BIRTHPLACE:||Olomouc, Czech Republic|
|WEIGHT:||183||DRAFTED:||DET / 2002 NHL Entry Draft|
|SHOOTS:||Left||ROUND:||2nd (58th overall)|
|2015-2016 SEASON STATISTICS|
LAST 5 GAMES 2015-2016
|JAN 13 ’16 FLA @ CGY||0||2||2||4||0||0||0||1||0.0||21||13:10|
|JAN 2 ’16 CGY @ COL||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||12||5:26|
|DEC 31 ’15 LAK @ CGY||0||0||0||-2||0||0||0||0||26||15:09|
|DEC 29 ’15 ANA @ CGY||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||27||20:13||100.00|
|DEC 27 ’15 EDM @ CGY||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||3||0.0||25||17:28||100.00|
With just one goal in his last 22 outings, Jiri Hudler finally managed to attract some positive attention Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
OK, well, it was against Corey Perry and it was an unofficial contribution as it came in the pre-game warmup.
Well aware of Perry’s penchant for punctuating the skate by shooting a puck in the opposition’s net, Hudler hung around until the dying seconds when Perry fired a long shot down the ice Hudler stopped with a spiffy save.
“Pads down, I kicked it out perfectly — old Hasek,” said the Czech winger whose save drew a loud cheer.
“He tried to do it last year and I stopped the puck. I have respect for him but this is our building, so I wasn’t going to let him shoot it in our net. I felt people were watching, so I tried to do something for the kids.”
Both players then sprinted off the ice with Hudler high-fiving kids on the way out as he always does.
It showed the personable side of the Calgary Flames veteran few ever get to see outside of warmup.
Perhaps uncomfortable with his English, he rarely does media interviews, sparking debate this season amongst scribes over whether he’s harder to find on or off the ice.
One year after finishing eighth in NHL scoring and making a splash at the NHL Awards by hamming it up onstage shoeless, Hudler has had very little impact on the ice despite playing on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
“I’d be happier if I scored a couple more goals but we’re winning so nobody is all over me… until you write something,” laughed the soon-to-be 32-year-old in a rare interview with the Sun on Wednesday.
“Somebody told me I had eight more points last year at this time so obviously I want to score more, but roles on the team changed a bit. Obviously, we’ve got Johnny — I call him (Lionel) Messi. He’s running the show and he’s hot and I’m just trying to get in front and get traffic and let Johnny do his thing. I like to see them succeed, the young guys. Him and Monny score a goal and the faces they make afterwards are good for me.”
Hudler has five goals and 15 assists in 33 games to date, which complicates things as the Flames will undoubtedly soon start trying to shop Hudler for an inevitable trade-deadline deal. He is in the final year of a four-year deal paying him US$4 million this winter, tied with David Jones for the most amongst Flames forwards.
He said he and the Flames have not talked contract and refused to comment when asked about re-signing here.
He’s as good as gone. The question is how much the Flames can get for him at this pace — a pace he isn’t panicking over despite the fact he clearly isn’t the same player he was last year.
“I never panic in my career and why start now?” said Hudler, who had 31 goals and 76 points last year, most of which came in the second half when his trio was the league’s most prolific.
“First, the season is not over yet. Also, it’s hard to repeat — even the superstars can’t repeat every year. Even the best players have months they’re not producing, but you just keep your head up.
“Am I happy with five goals? No. But can I go on a run and score some goals in a couple games? Yes. Am I thinking about it? No… until you brought it up — thanks for that.”
There’s that personality again.
Head coach Bob Hartley has no choice but to insist he still has belief in Hudler, and given what he did last year, who can blame him? That said, it’s no longer a given Hudler will remain with the two stars as was previously the case.
At some point this year, they’ll get a new linemate either because Hudler isn’t producing or because he’s traded.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting a few breaks,” Hartley said.
“Jiri still has lots of good hockey to play in him.”
When we’ll see it — or him — is anyone’s guess.