The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/03/11 at 12:03 AM ET
Of brief but important note this evening: According to the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker, former Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Bob Boughner, who left the team due to family reasons, will reprise his role as the Windsor Spitfires coach after the Red Wings chose not to pursue Boughner or Pete DeBoer as the replacements for Brad McCrimmon and Paul MacLean…
After returning from Columbus, Boughner briefly spoke to Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock about an assistant coaching job with the club. When the Red Wings opted to go in a different direction, Boughner began to discuss his future with the Spitfires.
And as we know from the Free Press’s Helene St. James, among others, the Wings were interested in acquiring the services of Scottie Upshall and/or Tomas Fleischmann before the Florida Panthers overpaid for their services, but opted to stick with the team’s current crop of forwards for the present moment. St. James (via an early edition of the Free Press) offers this assessment of Jiri Hudler’s future with the team given his underwhelming performance after returning from the KHL (see: 37 points in 73 games in the regular season, 3 points in 10 games during the playoffs, several healthy scratches along the way):
So what’s ahead for Hudler? Expect him to be kept on a short leash.
He didn’t lack for opportunity last season; even when he wasn’t on one of the top two lines, he was a regular on the power play, over such options as Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi.
During the Phoenix series a team scout pointed out that Hudler is always a threat to score; unfortunately for the Wings, he rarely finished his chances.
The Wings retain some faith in Hudler because of his history of scoring at various levels, from world juniors to the NHL (he had 23 goals in ‘08-09). He must show from the start of camp he’s going to be that player again, and earn a spot as a top-six forward.
If not, given that he’s in the last year of his contract, the Wings will explore moving him while he has value.
There’s no doubt about that. The problem for those of you (and maybe me) who would like to see Hudler disappear sooner than later is simple: with solid free agent forwards remaining on the market, there’s no incentive whatsoever for any team (including those who are struggling to reach the cap floor) to surrender assets for an underachiever like Hudler.
Again, the 27-year-old forward’s going to earn $3 million in real-world dollars over this upcoming season, but his cap hit is $2.875 million, and he’s a free agent next summer. Even if the Wings wanted to move Valtteri Filppula instead given his higher “upside,” Filppula’s $3 million cap hit (all figures from Capgeek.com) belies the fact that he’s going to actually earn $3.5 million for the 2010-2011 season and another $3.5 million in 2011-2012, so if the Wings are planning on moving a “top-six” or top-nine forward at the trade deadline, Hudler’s the candidate to move.
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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.