Jiri Hudler's agent Petr Svoboda counted the ways his client loved thee, Red Wings: "Jiri loves Detroit. Jiri loves the organization, the city, his teammates." Alas, parting is such sweet sorrow … but $16 million certainly provides some solace.
Hudler, 28, left the Wings for the Calgary Flames on Monday, as the free agent center inked a 4-year, $16 million deal according to Darren Dreger of TSN.
He had 25 goals and 25 assists last season, making $2.875 million against the cap. The $4 million annual wage was the expected rate for Hudler, according to the Detroit News.
That said … the Calgary Flames currently have the second highest payroll in the NHL, according to Cap Geek.
As in, the highest playroll behind only the Boston Bruins, who had to spend a little dough keeping together a team that won the Stanley Cup two years ago.
They have 12 forwards under contract, not including Mikael Backlund or Akim Aliu (both RFAs) or Sven Baertschi, who showed a ton of promise during an NHL cameo last season. They have 10 players on their roster making more than $3.5 million; the Los Angeles Kings, by comparison, have seven.
It takes a special kind of mismanagement to put together a roster this rich and ineffective. Obviously, there are still some pieces that could move — Jay Bouwmeester's $6.68 million cap hit being the most prominent option for removal — but that's still $65,943,332 for a win-now team that isn't good enough to win, now.
Don't confuse the sins of the past as a criticism of the Hudler deal. They didn't overpay for him in money or in term based on the market -- it's David Jones's contract with the Avalanche -- and he can be an effective offensive player despite being undersized. If nothing else, he'll go to the net hard; and the Flames could use a few more pucks in said net.