Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Littlest Red Wing Returns

(First things first: VOTE BONDO! Voting ends at 6PM!)

Black Ace Jiri Hudler is back with the Wings for two years at around 1M, which is more than I expected, but also signals that Wings are willing to give Hudler a good shot at being a Top 12 forward and getting decent ice time. With Mike Babcock's obsession with size and grit, there was a danger that the undersized Hudler's scoring ability might be overlooked, but that appears to not be the case.

I would hope that Hudler sees significant time on the PP, even if he is relegated to relatively few even strength minutes on the fourth line. If the roster stays the way it is, he, Tomas Kopecky, and Igor Grigorenko will likely be the fourth line. Yesterday I threw out the suggestion that the Wings get Jason Allison, and there are plenty of other possibilities being tossed out there, including Alexei Yashin. Ted Kulfan suggests the Wings invincible locker room led by Nick Lidstrom and the immortal Chris Chelios can withstand Yashin, but I shiver at the idea of essentially bringing in a new Robert Lang. And his agent, as I recall, said something to the effect of Yashin not playing for cheap this upcoming season.

Here's another suggestion: Matt Ellis? He's already on the Wings roster, and I have to imagine that if the Wings stand pat (I doubt they really will) he's probably the 13th forward. If his competition includes Hudler and the unproven Grigorenko, he'll likely get in a lot of games for the Wings, and could potentially be the power forward they're looking for. He won't put up amazing numbers or anything (leave that to the Eurotwins), but he will be physical and offensively competent.