Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/02/12 at 08:39 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Pending the landing place for Parise, we’ll see if the Wings end up coming around to a guy like Alexander Semin who has far more up-side in terms of offensive production but has all kinds of baggage linked to his compete level or lack thereof. If they go that route, perhaps they’ll be sorry they didn’t do more to keep Hudler whom they drafted with the 58th overall pick in 2002.
Should that lack of interest have been a red flag to the Flames?
That’s a moot point now. The question moving forward is whether the Flames can coax more out of Hudler, 28, over the next four years to nudge themselves back into the playoff tournament, something that hasn’t happened for three straight years. Since the lockout, they have yet to advance beyond the first round and, if you polled 100 NHL people right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find many that believe they’re capable of returning to said tournament next spring.
But GM Jay Feaster was ecstatic at the signing and pointed out Sunday that Hudler is a terrific 5-on-5 producer, netting 23 of 25 goals while at even strength. Feaster said Hudler was second only to league goal-scoring champ Steven Stamkos in five-on-five goals last season.
Calgary ranked 25th in five-on-five scoring last year and 24th overall in goals per game, so Feaster is looking for improvement on that side of the puck if the Flames are going to improve on last year’s ninth place finish.
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