Red Wings general manager Ken Holland sat down with Ansar Khan/MLive.com to address the Jiri Hudler situation, and the news is good/not good depending which side of the Hudler fence your loyalties lie on.
Wings general manager Ken Holland said today that the club will head to salary arbitration with forward Jiri Hudler on July 30 in Toronto. Hudler's agent, Petr Svoboda, told Holland the 25-year-old left wing intends on playing in Russia next season.
"They have no intention of negotiating a settlement, they want the case heard before an arbitrator,'' Holland said.
The NHL apparently will not be able to prevent Hudler from playing for Moscow Dynamo. Hudler signed a two-year, $10 million (tax-free) deal with the Kontinental Hockey League club on July 8. The NHL has tried to void the deal, claiming Hudler is obligated to the Wings because he filed for salary arbitration on July 5.
Basically, it looks like the Wings are ready to move on and start looking for a free agent or two to replace some of the scoring they lost to defections earlier in this off season. Now that the handcuffs of a potential Hudler contract are off, look for Holland to try and land some low priced, value forwards who can contribute anywhere between 15-20 goals a season. Mike Grier's name immediately jumps to the forefront as a potential contender, and if the Wings could negotiate the right price, Petr Sykora would be another interesting option.
In the end though, this is the best thing for both sides. The Wings don't want a player on their roster that wants to be playing somewhere else, especially if they have to go over the cap to do so. Hudler wants to make his money and have a shot at being a leader for Moscow Dynamo. One way or the other, it's time to put this all to bed and get to work on winning back the Stanley Cup. The train is pulling out at some point and it's doing so with or without Hudler.