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.
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.
You see, this is where I find your logic flawed. Hudler has always been able to make the most out of very little on this team - limited ice time, playing on the bottom two lines. He performed admirably in this role in the 2008 playoffs. However, apart from his hot streak with Datsyuk and Cleary this year, he has been Consistently Inconsistent © when given top-six ice time. He has been given chances and has never shown himself to be an invaluable and irreplaceable asset on the top two lines.
Regardless of the Red Wings' own lines, Hudler's game simply has too many holes to compete against other teams' top-sixes. He is too small, too slow, not strong enough, not good enough defensively to bring it on a consistent basis against players who are bigger, meaner, and faster than him. He can make plays, but far too often his size and speed restrictions, coupled with either his inability or his unwillingness to win tough battles for pucks, make him an easy target. When he has time, he can make some great passes, and he's quite good at capitalizing on defensive miscues and finding what space is available on the ice. Unfortunately, he rarely gets the kind of time to make passes that he needs when playing against the opposing teams' best players. For that reason, I don't believe he can cut it on the first two lines.
Just because he is small doesn't make him ineffective; Marty St. Louis is Exhibit A for small players being successful. The difference is that Marty has great wheels, is certainly a better playmaker than Hudler, and in my opinion St Louis simply plays harder than Hudler and wants to win more badly than Hudler does.
I don't know why I bothered to make this post, I doubt you're going to listen to anything I've said anyways.