2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Panthers RW Jiri Hudler


Each day from now until July 1, the day NHL free agency begins, CSNPhilly.com producers Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile some of the league’s top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.

Jiri Hudler, right wing

Age: 32
Height: 5-10
Weight: 183
Last team: Florida Panthers
2015-16 cap hit: $4 million

Scouting report
A second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2002, 11-year veteran Jiri Hudler is known for his offensive acumen. He’s scored 161 goals in his career and added 256 assists for a total of 417 points. He also has a Lady Byng Trophy to his name, if “sportsmanship and gentlemanly play” are the things you enjoy in a hockey player.

A Stanley Cup champion with the Wings in 2008, the Czech native spent seven seasons in Detroit before joining the Flames on a four-year deal prior to the 2012-13 season. It was in Calgary where Hudler had his best NHL season. Playing alongside young stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan in 2014-15, Hudler potted 31 goals and added 45 assists to help the Flames come out of nowhere and reach the second round of the playoffs.

But as the Flames faltered this season, Hudler became expendable and was dealt to the Florida Panthers shortly before the trade deadline. With Florida, Hudler scored six goals and recorded five assists in 19 regular-season games. He had just a single assist in the Panthers’ six postseason games.

At just 5-foot-10, Hudler doesn’t really have a physical element to his game. And that hurts him at the defensive end of the ice where he’s known to be inconsistent.

Hudler seems ticketed for a younger, up-and-coming team that could use a veteran presence with some scoring punch. Teams with interest in Hudler will want him to try and replicate the success he had with Gaudreau and Monahan two seasons ago.

But the Flyers likely aren’t a fit for two reasons — size and age.

Yes, the Flyers need a winger who can put the puck in the net. But, as general manager Ron Hextall has said numerous times since the season ended, the Flyers specifically need a scoring winger with size. The 5-foot-10, 183-pound Hudler doesn’t fit that need. Plus, the Flyers will want someone younger than Hudler, who will turn 33 in January, in that role. Also, his defensive inconsistencies wouldn't help him in Dave Hakstol's eyes.

Expect Hudler to land a short-term deal for less than the $4 million per year he earned on his last deal. Where is anyone’s guess.

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