Boston Bruins Should Look at Signing Jiri Hudler


Boston Bruins Should Look at Signing Jiri Hudler to a One-Year Contract

The Boston Bruins are in need of a scoring right winger to play top-six minutes. It’s no secret that the right wing position alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has been a revolving door for years. While the Bruins need to solidify that line, it doesn’t look like the long-term answer will be found this year.

At this point in the offseason, it seems unlikely that the Bruins will be able to haul in a bonafide star through free agency. It’s also unclear whether or not they are still exploring trade options. With that in mind, there is still an option in free agency that could be a fit for the Bruins top line for at least 2016-17 season.

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Jiri Hudler, the former Calgary Flames forward, is still unsigned and looking for a job. The reason behind Hudler’s current unemployment status isn’t the fact that he’s washed up, or unable to perform, it’s the fact that he has certain financial expectations that teams may not be willing to fulfill.

The latest reports have Hudler leaning towards signing with the Vancouver Canucks. While other teams may be involved, the Canucks they can offer him more money than a team such as the Chicago Blackhawks – a team that would give him a much better shot at competing for the Stanley Cup next season.

With the Boston Bruins missing out on signing Jimmy Vesey, there is a serious need for a top-six forward in the Bruins lineup. While Vesey would have played on the left wing, the Bruins have had no qualms with using players on their off-wing in the past – Jimmy Hayes, Loui Eriksson, Brett Connolly, among others.

Hudler may not be the same player he once was, having scored only 16 goals and 46 points in 72 games last season. What’s important to note, however, is the fact that he recorded a very impressive 31 goals and 75 points in 76 points just one season prior. At 32-years-old, it’s unclear if Hudler’s play is simply starting to decline, or if he had one off-year that could be rectified with a bounceback season.

It’s no surprise that Hudler wants to get paid, but it’s also unsurprising that teams are hesitant to spend on a player who’s entering the latter part of his career. With ample competition for the services of Hudler, the Bruins should at least enter their name in the discussion to see if a one-year deal can be reached to help bolster Boston’s lineup for the 2016-17 season.

Next: An Inactive Trade Market for Boston

Stability on the Marchand-Bergeron line could provide a big boost to the Bruins lineup; Don Sweeney just needs to make the effort. With just under $7 million ($6.7 million) available in cap space for the Bruins, there is definitely room to sign a player like Hudler while also satisfying his contract demands (within reason).