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Red Wings wave goodbye to Jiri Hudler, who signs with Calgary; Conner goes to Phoenix

Updated 8x at 4:51 with confirmation that Chris Conner’s gone to Phoenix: Sorry for the double post. Wrong blog: Well we knew this was going to happen: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that former Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler got his payday in Alberta:

Jiri Hudler agrees to 4 year, $16 million contract with Calgary Flames. 4yrs x $4 mil.

Quoting Capgeek:

The #Flames now have the second-highest cap payroll in the #NHL at $65.9M http://t.co/eNaaIbvB

The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirms:

 

Jiri Hudler got the money he was looking for, signing a four-year deal worth $4 million a season with the Calgary Flames.

Hudler scored a career-high 25 goals last season to go along with 25 assists and finished a plus-10 in the plus/minus category.

Hudler got the same money Colorado forward David Jones got this offseason. Jones only scored 20 goals and had 17 assists.

Hudler rebounded from a disastrous 2010-11 season, when he scored only 10 goals.

This year he benefited from playing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula.

The Wings would have liked to retain him, but probably didn’t go higher than around $3.3 million per season.

And from the Calgary Sun:

Flames reportedly sign Jiri Hudler: 4 years, $16 million. Had a $3 million salary last season. 25 goals and 50 points with Det last year

Via RedWingsFeed, TSN has a story up:

Jiri Hudler has agreed to terms on a four-year, $16 million contract with the Calgary Flames.

The Czech winger has spent his entire seven-year NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. Hudler tallied 25 goals and 50 points in 81 games last year with Detroit.

The former second-round pick won a Stanley Cup with the Wings in 2008. Hudler has 87 goals and 214 points in seven seasons in Detroit.

The 28-year-old played with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL in 2009-10 before returning to Detroit for the past two seasons.


Update #2: MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms...

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler has signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Calgary Flames.

Hudler, 28, is coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 25 goals and finished with 50 points. Despite his size (listed at 5-foot-10, 180) and lack of speed, the Red Wings had some interest in re-signing him, but they weren’t willing to pay more than about $3.2 million a season.

This is the second time Hudler has left Detroit. After picking up 23 goals and 57 points in 2008-09, he signed a two-year deal with Dynamo Moscow of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League that was rumored to be worth $10 million tax-free.

He returned to Detroit after one year and experienced a miserable 2010-11 season, with just 10 goals and 37 points.

Hudler, after a slow start, found some chemistry playing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. Despite his size, Hudler went to the net, that’s how he scored Detroit’s only two goals in its Game 4 and 5 losses to Nashville in the first round of the playoffs.

The Red Wings essentially replaced Hudler by singing Mikael Samuelsson to a two-year, $6 million deal on Sunday.

The Detroit Free Press, via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press is calling it a “report” (Darren Dreger’s credentials are impeccable)...

The Calgary Herald’s George Johnson is weighing in…

$ 4 mil per for a high of 25 goals? I guess that’s the going rate, but holy Moses ...

And here’s Ted Kulfan’s initial reaction on Twitter:

According to TSN Hudler signs withthe Calgary Flames, 4 yrs. $16 million total….as expected 4years
...
Gee whiz did Hudler ever pick a good time to score 25 goals…in a poor free agent class…with many teams able to spend much money.
...
Saying all that, good for Huds…I wonder what success he’ll have in CGY though


Update #3: And via the Production Line, the Phoenix Coyotes have apparently signed Chris Conner.

Update #4: the Flames confirm with a press release:

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed center 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.”

Hudler, a native of Olomouc, Czech Republic, has played 409 career games all with the Detroit Red Wings. Over his seven NHL seasons, he has accumulated 87 goals, 127 assists for 214 points and 160 penalty minutes. Last season Hudler scored a career-high 25 goals and added 25 assists for 50 points and 42 penalty minutes in 81 games with the Red Wings. Hudler won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.

Contract terms: Four year contract at an AAV of $4,000,000.

The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms, too:

Jiri Hudler 4 yrs, $16 M from Calgary - totally what I expected. #RedWings didn’t expect to keep him, hence Mikael Samuelsson signing Sunday

Update: The Red Wings confirm both departures:

NEWS: Jiri Hudler signs with Calgary and Chris Conner pens a deal with Phoenix. We wish them the best in the next phase of their careers.

More from the Flames:

“Jiri Hudler is a highly skilled and dynamic offensive player,” #Flames GM Jay Feaster on Jiri Hudler
...
“He is 1 of the very best goal scorers in the NHL at even strength & he puts a very high percentage of his shots on net,” Feaster on Hulder
...
“He fits our need to upgrade and improve our skill,” Feaster on signing Hudler

Update #6: The Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak also confirms...

The Calgary Flames have pulled the top-six forward they were gunning for in the free-agency market.  The NHL club signed Jiri Hudler to a four-year, US$16-million contract Monday. Hudler, 28, is coming off a 25-goal, 50-point season with the Detroit Red Wings.

“Jiri Hudler is a highly skilled and dynamic offensive player,” Flames GM Jay Feaster said in a statement. “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.”

A product of Czech Republic, the left winger has played 409 NHL games in which he’s netted 87 goals and 127 assists. He’s also skated in 66 playoff games and collected 12 goals and 33 points.

Hudler’s arrival will also give the Flames a fellow Czech to help Roman Cervenka adapt to the NHL. Cervenka, the KHL star, was signed in the spring.

With Hudler’s signing, the Flames have committed $69.95 million in salaries to a dozen forwards, eight defencemen and two goalies, and that doesn’t include a new contract for restricted free-agent Mikael Backlund and top prospect Sven Baertschi.

The Calgary Herald’s calling it a report...

Here’s TSN’s Aaron Ward’s take:

Hudler signing in Calgary for 16 million/4 years is number he wanted from #Detroit (David Jones money #AVS),but was too high for #DRW #TSN

WXYZs Brad Galli is confirming…

And here’s the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff’s take:

Jiri Hudler signs 4 years, $16 million with #Flames.
...
You just knew that a team desperate for scoring would overpay for Hudler.
...
@BrennanIdeson No. Hudler wore out his welcome here. Not popular in room. Samuelsson streaky, but at least he tries every game.

I just get the feeling that Hudler was indeed on borrowed time since the moment he returned from Dynamo Moscow, and apparently that’s the case, given what Duff suggests.

Update #6.5: The Calgary Herald’s George Johnson is not amused:

Flames forward brigade could hail from the Shire in Lord of the Rings.
...
Hey, Hudler put up those highs of 25 goals and 57 points playing for the DETROIT RED WINGS. These guys are not the Detroit red Wings.

And here are the Wings on Hudler:

NEWS: Jiri Hudler has agreed to terms with the Calgary Flames. We wish him the best of luck in the next stage of his career.

Update #7: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and the Globe and Mail and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan all confirm:

Leaving the Wings isn’t a surprise, and was expected by the organization and many others around the NHL given the economic climate. Teams are looking for goal scorers, and Hudler has proven to have the ability to score goals.

The Wings, anticipating Hudler leaving, signed Mikael Samuelsson on Sunday.

Having had a salary-cap hit of $2.8 million last season, the Wings weren’t prepared to go much higher than $3 million to $3.3 million in re-signing Hudler.

Hoping to acquire more offense, the Wings are still in the hunt for prized free agent acquisition Zach Parise.

But the highly-anticipated decisions of Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter still have not been revealed.

Update #8: the Coyotes are confirming that they’ve signed Chris Conner. 1 year deal, 2-way contract.


Update #9: Hudler took part in a conference call with the media during the Parise presser. From the Calgary Sun...

Hudler: “I’m a bigger role and pressure’s going to come with it.” Says he likes the opportunity to excel with that pressure.

The Flames...

“I’m looking forward to this new opportunity ... I’m really happy right now,” Jiri Hudler on signing with the #Flames
...
“Pressure is a good thing when you use it the right way,” newest #Flames forward Jiri Hudler
...
“Passion for hockey in Canada, it’s unmatched,” #Flames forward Jiri Hudler on signing in Calgary

And the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

Jiri Hudler: “I gotta say it’s hard to leave a town like Detroit, the organization. I’ve got lot of memories, lot of good friends.”
...
Jiri Hudler said he spoke to good friend & ex-Flame Todd Bertuzzi about joining Calgary Flames.

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Comments

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Avatar

Posted by Vladimir16 on 07/02/12 at 04:23 PM ET

Ha, yes!

Posted by Garth on 07/02/12 at 06:36 PM ET

jimathor's avatar

Taking the Pimp to Cowtown. Meh, I could care less. Crazy money though and again,  proof of how (potentially) great KH is when you can score 4 players for the price of one Czech (see what I did there?).

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 07/02/12 at 06:37 PM ET

Avatar

Jiri Hudler was the third best forward available in this free agent class.  I’m surprised he didn’t hold out for more; once Parise and Semin are locked up, who’s left?

Why let GMs spend so much time watching game film? To go from “Hudler’s the 3rd best UFA forward!” to “Hudler’s the 3rd best UFA forward?”

Posted by Herm from the office on 07/02/12 at 06:37 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Parise announcement reportedly imminent…

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/02/12 at 06:38 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Let’s hope Parise and Suter have got their collusion worked out.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/02/12 at 06:41 PM ET

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I’m dying. And possibly getting fired. #UFAwatch

Posted by Herm from the office on 07/02/12 at 06:44 PM ET

Avatar

If Parise comes out and says him and Suter are getting married I am done.

Dude on twitter

Posted by Herm from the office on 07/02/12 at 06:46 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

NHL Network JUST reported that Suter said he wouldn’t announce anything until after Parise announces his placement.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 07/02/12 at 06:47 PM ET

SYF's avatar

If Parise comes out and says him and Suter are getting married I am done.

Dude on twitter

Posted by Herm from the office on 07/02/12 at 04:46 PM ET

Should’ve concluded with, “...and signing with Detroit.”

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/02/12 at 06:50 PM ET

Avatar

@RedMenace

Hudler’s worth is not 4M to the Wings. The Wings have cheaper prospects with similar size and games (those players are quicker and have similar and better hands in some cases) and the Wings essentially replaced his scoring with a 3M player.  He couldn’t play the point on the power play and took too many shots from bad angles while on the wing. He did well with Z and Fil, but one only needs to go back a year earlier to see how those players influenced his season…

He went to the net these playoffs and scored a couple of goals so some people gave him credit as the second coming of Homer. However, upon review of the game tape those creditors would have noticed how easily he was knocked around and how the other teams left him alone because the 6’ 5” goalie could see over his head on screens—why further obstruct the goaltender’s view with a taller defender?...

Posted by dca from in Mich on 07/02/12 at 06:51 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

What?

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/02/12 at 06:55 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

NHL Network JUST reported that Suter said he wouldn’t announce anything until after Parise announces his placement.

Sheesh.  Are they children?  Do we really want them that bad?  C’mon Suter, be a grown up.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/02/12 at 06:56 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Do we really want them that bad?

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/02/12 at 04:56 PM ET

Yes.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/02/12 at 06:59 PM ET

Avatar

Twitter world seems to have gone pretty quiet….

Posted by godblender on 07/02/12 at 07:00 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

No announcement till tomorrow.

Christ.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/02/12 at 07:03 PM ET

SYF's avatar

No announcement till tomorrow.

Christ.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/02/12 at 05:03 PM ET

Almighty.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/02/12 at 07:04 PM ET

Avatar

For f*ck’s sake….it’s $100 million…pick a goddamn team, already.

Posted by godblender on 07/02/12 at 07:06 PM ET

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Parise held an actual press conference to tell reports he hasn’t made a decision yet….

some last minute offers must have been good perhaps 100M+

Posted by dca from in Mich on 07/02/12 at 07:07 PM ET

gowings's avatar

According to TVA Sport: Don’t wait for any Parise news. He will not comment now and might be for tomorrow

Posted by gowings from MTL on 07/02/12 at 07:08 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by dca from in Mich on 07/02/12 at 04:51 PM ET

So you already know how Sammy and The Prospects are going to pan out next year? Your crystal ball is strong.

Who hailed him as “the second coming of Homer?”

Of course he couldn’t play the point on the PP—whose decision was it to put him there? Dude scored 25 goals, which was SECOND on the team, and very few of them were on the PP.

But no, let’s get rid of a skilled scoring forward because he doesn’t fit the “Big, strapping, Canadian boy mold.” He makes up for his physical deficiencies with skill and hockey sense, and yet he still made the effort to get into the high traffic areas and muck for pucks.

Whatever, it’s over now, and you haters can keep on keepin’ on.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 07/02/12 at 07:08 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Darren Dreger called @Eklund “pal.”

I’m sure Dreger was being facetious ‘bout that.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/02/12 at 07:09 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

This is the worst ploy I’ve seen in a while.  Illitch: offer Suter an extra million just to make his own damned decision.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/02/12 at 07:09 PM ET

Avatar

Whatever, it’s over now

Yes, it is.

Posted by Herm from the office on 07/02/12 at 07:11 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

You guys got me aroused with that “Parise Press Conference” stuff.  I loaded tsn.ca and it had a headline “Firepower” and a picture of a guy in a red jersey.  I thought it was Parise coming to Detroit, but it was Huds going to Calgary.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/02/12 at 07:14 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

So, Suter actually said that?  If so he really likes to shun the limelight.  No, that doesn’t make sense either.

where’s gowings?  This is really some sh1t now, eh?  If Suter has made a decision why the Hell doesn’t he just come out and say it, or have his agent say it so he can hoe his tomato garden. 

If Suter said that does that mean they are linked?  I wondered about them actually being as good of friends as some reports made them to be, and if they were regularly phoning or txting each other.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/02/12 at 07:22 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

I’ve been waiting for this for a while.  Bye buds.  One down more to go.  Ericsson?  Well I can hope.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/02/12 at 10:57 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.