Big difference? Hudler was playing with guys like Draper and Maltby. Give Filppula those linemates, and see what it does to his PPG. And btw, Hudler scored more at even strength than on the power play. He also scored more at even strength than Teemu Selanne, who had the same number of power play points. Hudler and Selanne played comparable total time on ice in each situation. Does this make Hudler a comparable player to Teemu Selanne in offensive capability? His offensive numbers in all situations were very similar in 2008-09.
The simple facts are, Hudler was always a threat to score, and produced a ton of offense for the Wings in 08-09. Filppula has been OK offensively, but has never been as much of an offensive powerhouse for the Wings, in terms of creating offense on his own out of nothing, playmaking ability, or simply finishing skills. Stats can be manipulated to show whatever you want, but Filppula is not as good offensively as Hudler, and has not been.
If Hudler were given the top-six scoring role he deserved, he'd be a 70 or 80 point player. Add 40% to his ES production in 08-09 to give him 1st/2nd line type ES time, and he gets another 11 points. That's a 68 point winger-assuming his point production isn't increased further by better players. Certainly worth $2.875m.
No, he did NOT play with the likes of Draper and Maltby.
http://www.dobberhockey.com/frozenpool_linecombo.php?selForward=DETHUDLER%2CJIRI&period=ALL&situation=EV&games=2008-2009%3AR%3A99&Submit=Show+Line+Combinations&sent=go (I'd also like to say that that site is THE BEST site on the internet)
Hudler had a whopping 1 more point at ES than on the PP.
I'm not manipulating the stats, I'm just telling you them. That stats show nothing BUT Filppula being as good as Hudler offensively, and better at everything else.
And I'm not saying that Hudler isn't well worth his 2.85m deal, it'd be great to have him back (though I'd rather spend 4-5m on a bonafide 2nd line scorer). But I think he is overrated on this board and and FATALLY sick of the "produce so much given his ice time" argument, it simply isn't true. He produced as much at ES as Filppula given his ice time and got a ton of PP time.