As the Red Wings sputtered throughout the 2009-10 season, something was clearly missing. Sure, Marian Hossa provided a number of goals for the Wings, but his scoring punch went dry when it mattered most. Nor was it Chris Chelios, Ty Conklin or Tomas Kopecky, players that departed the Wings before last season. Jiri Hudler had left the team for European riches, but with some light pulling from the Red Wings, Hudler will spend his 2010-11 season back at the Joe.
For a while it looked like Hudler was either going to revolutionize the way that hockey player’s rights are looked at internationally, or he was going to anger a lot of NHL GMs. The Red Wings were fortunate that Dynamo Moscow of the KHL folded operations and Hudler came back at a heavily discounted rate. The Wings also benefited from a 20 goal-plus scorer having issues with his agent falsely applying for arbitration. Either way, Hudler will be back with his fire power for the 2010-11 season.
By adding Hudler, along with another year under the belt for Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings have known entities coming to a team that should only be getting better next season. Last year served as a wake up call for a lot of veteran players, and I cannot imagine the Wings are willing to fall flat again out of the gate. With the defending Stanley Cup champions in their division and ready to go for another run, the Red Wings may have enough weapons to give them a run in 2011.