Have the Dallas Stars just made a relatively low-risk but totally unexpected addition to their forward group?
Sonny Sachdeva, a writer for Today's Slapshot, sure thinks so.
Sachdeva further reports that Hudler's deal is for one year and a $2 million cap hit.
If this is true, which is a caveat we have to have until further confirmation is available, it makes some measure of sense. The Stars have had luck with veterans on one-year deals (think Patrick Eaves and the beard of amazingness), and Jim Nill knows Hudler well from the time spent together with the Detroit Red Wings.
And he's able to produce from lower-line minutes, putting up 16 goals and 46 points in 72 games with the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers last season. He had possession numbers on a bad Flames team (though less solid numbers in a short stint with the Panthers), and he has a reputation for being an undersized, streaky goal scorer.
Still, streaky goal scorers are probably an ideal fit for Dallas, which will run and gun any game that's presented to them. Give a guy like Hudler a lot of chances and he has the hands to be able to cash in.
The signing, should this pan out, also raises some questions about roster construction. The Stars already have 13 forwards under contract for next season, not including RFA Valeri Nichushkin, though that is counting Adam Cracknell. Hudler would make 14 and an awfully crowded forward set before injuries happen.
We'll keep an eye out on the usual sources to see if this is confirmed. For now, have at your speculation engines.