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Jiri Hudler has been a solid player for some time, and the Calgary Flames rewarded him with a four-year, $16 million contract.
Not bad for a player who scored 25 goals and 25 assists last season. However, that is a bit suspicious, given that the year before, he scored only 10 goals.
Was Hudler's performance last season the product of being in a contract year? Did Hudler see green, and did that help him find the back of the net a bit more? Perhaps, although it is impossible to tell.
While the Flames certainly thought last season was sustainable, there are reasons to doubt that. Hudler had about 19 percent of his shots hit the net last year—a remarkable number. However, it is about five points more than his previous career high.
Additionally, if Hudler had hit the net with a 14 percent accuracy rate, he would have only scored 19 goals, according to the Sporting News.
He's not the best on the puck, and won't have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to dish him the biscuit.
Hudler is expected to be one of the other options alongside Jarome Iginla, the one to take some of the pressure off the Flames' captain. But Hudler is too inconsistent and hasn't put up two great seasons in a row. Expecting him to put up consistently big numbers is not the best idea.
Hudler may struggle one year, and break out the next. But he won't be a consistent producer, and certainly won't live up to the hefty contract he signed.