Jiri Hudler is giving the Calgary Flames everything that he’s got in the tank and then some.
Coming into the 2013-14 NHL season, pundits around the league were more than happy to wisecrack when it came to what appeared to be a pop-gun offense for the Calgary. Someone has to score goals for the Flames now that Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester have been traded out of town. Someone has to pick up the slack they said as the chortled behind the statement.
That someone has been Hudler, and the results of his high level of play have been anything besides chortle-worthy.
#flames F Jiri Hudler is the last NHL player who has point in every game since start of season. Crosby & Marleau were pointless last night.
— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) October 22, 2013
After three weeks of NHL action, the once-maligned forward is tied for fourth in league scoring with 11 points. He’s tied with players like Patrick Marleau and Pavel Datsyuk and has been the motor behind Calgary’s shocking start. The more entertaining story has belonged to Sean Monahan, who has also been incredible for the Flames so far.
Yet a lot of credit must go to Hudler, who has found a way to suddenly elevate his game to an elite level after six years of solid-but-unspectacular play. The Detroit Red Wings let him walk as a free agent because of his madding inconsistency and unwillingness to get to the dirty areas.
Something has clicked for Hudler though, and he’s been one of the most electric forwards in the NHL so far.