Looks like the Wings can start looking for a free agent forward or two now.
Ansar Khan has it from Ken Holland that Jiri Hudler will not negotiate a deal prior to arbitration and reports that the NHL “apparently”* can’t keep Hudler from the KHL. If that’s true, the Wings no longer have to account for the possibility a forced return and will be able to return to market for filling out the roster.
Hudler will apparently go to arbitration, but it will only settle Hudler’s contract should he ever return to the NHL with a couple cheap grinder-with-hands types.
If this is all true, it’s mixed news, since it means both that the Wings have cap space free (good) and they’re losing a key asset in Hudler (bad). Still, it’s the best outcome we could have expected since Hudler signed with the KHL. He won’t be forced back against his will at a rate higher than the Wings could really afford, and could end up returning down the road when the Wings have more space.
I just hope this is the last word on it for a while.
*No source explicitly cited, though context says it’s Holland.