The Florida Panthers have acquired forward Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
The 32-year-old Hudler had a career-year with 31 goals and 76 points last season. Both are high-water marks for the Czech center.
This season, he hasn’t been able to replicate that success, posting just 10 goals and 35 points in 53 contests. But Hudler is capable of driving possession positively and could contribute in a situation, like Florida’s, where he’s not doing so much heavy lifting. While he likely benefits from good zone starts, the Panthers can probably add Hudler to a line that gets some protected minutes since they have some solid defensive-minded forwards like Aleksander Barkov, who can still be productive while getting heavy d-zone starts.
Hudler’s ability to drive possession is likely what the team is looking for with the Sun Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov saying earlier on Saturday that the Panthers are looking for “top Corsi guys.” That’s not surprising. The Panthers have had an analytics department for a while and recently hired a couple of good numbers guys in Joss Weissbock and @MoneyPuck.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.