Jay Feaster may have questionable judgement at times when it comes to running the Calgary Flames, but one of the few bright spots on his recent track record is Jiri Hudler.
He’s been among the best players for his new team, posting nine points through 10 games. That’s tied for fourth best on the Flames with Jarome Iginla and only three points back from the team leader Alex Tanguay. His shooting percentage is over 20% right now, so his goal totals might slow down at some juncture, but the streaky scorer is certainly in the zone right now.
Fans who have watched Hudler play elsewhere probably aren’t surprised to see that he is still a minus player in Calgary despite the points, but the Flames didn’t bring him on board to play defensive hockey. They lacked offensive scoring depth (and still do) and brought on Hudler to try and help east the pain of losing Olli Jokinen.
Yes, the pain of losing Jokinen. I told you they were a little short on offense.
Hudler has worked out better than many figured he would—chalking the signing up to an overpay on the part of Feaster—but so far he’s looked and played like a bargain. Can he keep this play up for another four years? As someone who watched him play with the Detroit Red Wings an awful lot, I can just about grantee that he’ll drive fans nuts just as often as he burns up the score sheet.
Hudler has managed to make management look good so far, and for the Flames to challenge for a playoff spot as the pack starts to spread out he’ll need to continue his solid play.