April 17, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Jiri Hudler (26) deflects the puck into the net past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) in the third period of game four of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at Joe Louis Arena. Nashville won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NHL Free Agency: Jiri Hudler

As the hours tick away leading up to the start of free agency in a few days, the options on the market are there for the Dallas Stars. While the media and many fans want to focus on the two gems of the pool this summer in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, likely two teams in the league will be happy while over half the league will be looking for backup plans this next week. So what else is out there that the Stars could be considering, who are the other top players?

One of the better players in this summer’s free agent class has to be Jiri Hudler. While the group is overall a weak one, there are a few good options after the two top players, and Hudler is one of them. The veteran Detroit Red Wings forward might not be a name that many fans are thinking about, but he could be one that the team is looking at as July 1st draws near. The Czech native has developed into a good 2nd line option in Detroit and been a part of a few postseason runs and one championship. Here are his games played, goals, assists, points, PIMs, and plus/minus since the start of his professional days in North America:

Via Eliteprospects.com

Hudler isn’t a big player at 5’10” and 185 lbs, but he could bring a nice group of assets to the Stars. He has over the years played center and left wing in Detroit, playing on both the 2nd line and 3rd line on some great teams. While his size and lack of true center skills in the faceoff might make him a strange option for a team like Dallas that is low on centers right now, he still could be a nice addition. Hudler is capable of playing on the 2nd line and providing 50 points while also playing on the 2nd powerplay unit, and even putting in some time on the kill if needed. If the Stars strike out on Parise, then don’t be surprised if Jiri’s name becomes on that you hear when media members discuss who Dallas is looking at.

While he can’t fill the hole left by Mike Ribeiro being traded, and even adding him with another forward wouldn’t make their forward group stacked unless they add Parise, he can provide a veteran 2nd line presence at 28-years old that should attractive to many teams. If the Stars do move Steve Ott as well, they definitely could use a player like Hudler. His last contract was two years at $5.75 million, and it is expected that he could make 3.5 – 4 million per season on a new contract this summer. We will have to just wait for Monday and see where Jiri will go, and if he will be on the Stars radar this summer.

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Tags: 2012 NHL Free Agency Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Free Agents Jiri Hudler Mike Ribeiro Zach Parise

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