Pittsburgh Penguins: Could Jiri Hudler Be a Trade Target for the Pens?


In what is already a crazy offseason for rumors and rumblings about players available via trade, one name has been consistent since the Calgary Flames were eliminated from playoff contention. Jiri Hudler is said to be a name that’s available this summer as the Flames are expected to be very aggressive. Would he fit with what the Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to accomplish?

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It’s no secret that Hudler had an outstanding season with the Flames in 2014-15. It was unexpected by most, but he was very impressive in what turned out to be a very productive campaign for him. The veteran winger was a huge reason for the success of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. That trio defeated odds as they touted basement-level possession numbers while still generating a ton of offense. His ability to boost his young line mates is an underrated part of what he has done in Calgary, not that Gaudreau and Monahan aren’t special players.

He finished with the following stats, leading the Calgary Flames in points. (Click to enlarge, via NHL.com)

Impressive is an understatement. Also, consider that he tallied 8 points in 11 playoff games. So, the Pittsburgh Penguins should definitely inquire about his availability, right?

As far as their poor possession numbers, if you put Hudler on a line with a possession monster like Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby you’ll recognize an immediate uptick.

There are a few negatives to consider in this scenario. First, can he maintain the production he boasted last season? While he has been a fairly consistent player throughout his career, last season was a career-year for him. His highest point total prior to last year came in 2008-09 when he recorded 57 points (23g, 34a) with the Detroit Red Wings.

He also isn’t getting any younger. At 31-years old he’s far from a dinosaur, but he’s hitting an age in which many players see a drop-off in production. Also, what’s the asking price?

A team is always going to start negations high, of course. But, even anything in the realm of that asking price would be far too steep for the Pittsburgh Penguins. First, they don’t have a first round pick this year as it was traded away for David Perron. Second, the goal this summer is to boost their top-six, not trade away the limited assets they have there.

Some have cited his $4 million cap hit as a concern. At this point, given the Pittsburgh Penguins commitment to their young defensive corps, I don’t see that being an issue. They’ll have plenty of cash to sign someone in the $4 to $5 million range.

With all of that being said, I don’t see Hudler as a realistic target for the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the asking price drops, maybe they could engage in talks. But, the Pens may have to settle for a less-proven player with high potential when you consider the assets that they have to work with.

Next: Pens Weekly Rumor Round Up - Free Agency, Trade Talk, and More

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