Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames: Goodbye Olli Jokinen, Hello Jiri Hudler

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 2: Jiri Hudler #26 of the Detroit Red Wings passes the puck during their NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on December 2, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Jim FlanneryAnalyst IJuly 4, 2012

This week, the Calgary Flames said goodbye to veteran forward Olli Jokinen and hello to his replacement, Jiri Hudler, according to NHL.com. 

Both players moved via free agency—Jokinen moving from Calgary to Winnipeg, while Hudler came from Detroit to the Flames.

Jokinen is coming off a solid season in which he scored 23 goals and picked up 61 points overall.

Hudler, meanwhile, scored a career-high 25 goals to go with 25 assists.

When all is said and done, this is a great move for the Flames.

Jokinen is 33 and although his numbers last year were the best they've been in a while, he can't be relied upon to continue to contribute at that level at his advanced age.

Hudler, on the other hand, is just entering his prime. As a member of the vaunted Red Wings offense, he was one piece of a large and productive puzzle. 

Last season, his 23 even-strength goals were the second most of any player in the NHL, behind only Steven Stamkos. With more action expected on the power play, he could easily find himself over the 30-goal plateau in Calgary.

Moreover, Hudler has playoff experience with Detroit that includes a Stanley Cup win in 2008. If the Flames hope to turn the corner as a team and find their way back into the playoff hunt, they'll need players with Hudler's experience and energy to lead the way.

With the addition of scoring defenseman Dennis Wideman earlier in the week, it's beginning to look like Flames GM Jay Feaster is prepared to make the moves required to start putting pucks in the net and bigger numbers in the win column.

That's nothing but good news for Flames fans, who are tired of watching their team bow out early year after year.

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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