A playmaker is a player who initiates a play designed to create a scoring opportunity. That pretty much describes Hudler word for word. Think about the many times you've seen Hudler behind the net or off to the side, and set up a play and get the puck to Filppula, or Franzen, or perhaps Drew Miller or Justin Abdelkader? I've seen Hudler create goals from nothing in that situation, I've also seen-many times-guys take a good feed and fire it wide of the net, or into the logo, or whatever. Scoring chances don't always end up as goals.
I've seen Hudler rarely be able to cycle the puck in the zone, because he's too slow and gets belted off the puck by the other team far too easily. I've seen him spend time behind the net and not get a chance off for crap. And I've seen him give up wide-open scoring chances because he'd rather make an often-ineffective pass instead.
I think you're seeing things that aren't there.
And as for the numbers...
Hudler's assist numbers rank him tied for 129th in the league. But everyone else near him or above him is a defenseman or plays top-six forward time. If Hudler were to get that kind of time, he'd see his assists creep north of the 40 mark based on assists-per-minute. And that doesn't even factor in the time he played on the fourth line, with guys like Miller and Helm instead of playing with guys like Franzen and Datsyuk like most of the assist leaders.
As noted by others, your logic is horribly flawed.
Franzen brings size, which he doesn't really utilize, and a good shot. Filppula is very good all-around, and Hudler is a great playmaker with a wicked shot. The fact of the matter is, if I had to fill out my team with one of the three, and then a bunch of Drew Miller clones, I would pick Flip. Franzen needs a playmaker. He can be a great goal scorer, but he needs a playmaker. That's his big weakness; he has to have someone to feed him. I would argue that is at least as big a weakness as Hudler's skating. And defensively Franzen has given up that edge he had in his own zone, so there's no advantage for Franzen over Hudler. We're basically talking do we want someone who can pass really well and shoot, or someone who can shoot really well but needs a passer? And Flip's defense is why he doesn't belong in this conversation; he's close to that level offensively, and provides excellent defense.
Wicked shot, eh? lol. That shot hardly got him any goals this season. He often passes when he should shoot, and he misses or hits the goalie on good scoring chances.
Franzen is FAR better than Hudler defensively. Unlike Hudler, he's also capable of holding onto the puck under pressure. If anyone catches up to Hudler in the offensive zone, he'll almost certainly get knocked off the puck. Not so with Franzen. Franzen needs a playmaker to score, you say? Why, gee, that makes him like the vast majority of goal-scorers out there.
Eva, all you seem to consider in this situation is "Oh, he can get points." Besides the fact that that really isn't very true--or at least it was very untrue this season--Hudler has numerous disadvantages that Franzen, Cleary, Filppula and others on the team don't. He's unlikely to score against the opponent's top two lines, and he's certainly somebody I would never
want on the ice playing defense against those lines.
Edited by Crymson, 27 May 2011 - 03:04 AM.