Just to play devil's advocate (eva, you're the devil fyi), eva does bring up a fair point even if his numbers are arguably inflated (and seeing as the last few pages have been arguing the amount of inflation I'm going to leave that part alone).
Hudler does have both incredibly good vision and pretty good offensive tools (stickhandling, passing, shot, all of which could belong to a top 3 player that had sufficient other tools). However, because of his negative qualities (small size, low strength, unreliable skating, questionable commitment -- all to fairly notable degrees), he doesn't have the ability to produce on his own except against inferior competition. His offensive tools may be great, but he cannot reliably get to and maintain a scoring or offensive position. Obviously, inferior linemates are also going to further impact his already disadvantaged playmaking in this scenario and lead to crap production.
Stick him with linemates who can carry the play and suck attention of defenders onto them, on the other hand, and you do have an extremely potent offensive threat in Hudler. Give him enough space and you've got someone with the offense of a top 3 forward, playmaking and finish, for a 2nd/3rd line tweener's contract.
Filppula is quite different. He's not as good of a stickhandler or shooter as Hudler, doesn't have the same vision, doesn't shoot as much when he's in a good shooting position. However, he can skate, he can protect the puck better, his work ethic is likely better.. he doesn't have the tools to set up or finish at a top-3 point producing level no matter who you put him with, but he does have enough tools to make something out of nothing in most situations.
How apt that these comparisons are fairly comparable to a couple players on another recent cup winner, namely Bolland and Versteeg on the Hawks during their win.
Players like Filppula and Bolland are the sort of core players you build around after your stars, players like Hudler and Versteeg are the sort you add to a contender to make their offensive threat overwhelming. Is it any surprise that Filppula and Bolland continue to be core parts of their team while one of Hudler & Versteeg has been to Europe then scratched/shuffled all over the place, and the other has bounced several times in the last few months, even though the latter two have the best 2 offensive seasons out of all of them (on SCF-quality teams in those particular seasons)?
And what does this mean for Hudler?
If our team is sufficiently deep, use him as a PP specialist while playing him on a 3rd scoring line that might include occasional time with star forwards during hot streaks. If our team is not sufficiently deep, trade him and use the cap/roster space to acquire a forward that more accurately fits a bottom 6 role... or hold onto him in the hopes that the team can become the former while he's still on the roster. His current contract is just about right for the offense he can generate.. on the right team, that is. As a Wings fan, I prefer to keep Hudler -- or rather, I prefer a team that has the offensive depth to properly utilize a player such as Hudler. In the post-cap world, those teams are cup contenders.
Edited by Datsyerberger, 31 May 2011 - 03:14 AM.
If some bored artist wants to make me a signature, feel free to cut loose and do so.
Of course, I could get off my lame rear and do something.