“…and it’s sort of comical how you think you’ve made a choice that exempts you from an NHL forward when in fact, you’ll be playing the forwards selected by the very people in this room from this pile of stuff.”
-Miranda Priestly, or at least she should have
Let’s get something out of the way right at the top. Jiri Hudler was not a make-or-break player for the Hawks. He was not the difference between them winning a Cup and them not. They would almost certainly need one more forward or two even if he signed here. But he might have been the difference between gaining an automatic playoff spot and fighting for a wild card, which could mean something and which might not.
However, the Hawks not having $2 million to scrape together to get a player pretty desperate for a job tells you the dire straits they are in. While some Hawks fans would love to believe that A) the Hawks didn’t really want Hudler or anyone else and B) this was all part of the grand plan, that is simply foolishness. If the Hawks didn’t want Hudler they’re simply wrong, whatever his flaws. They are short two proven forwards on the top six, and if we put Hossa with Toews to make up that gap then there are two holes on Kruger’s wing on the third line and in the West you have to have a top 9 at minimum. As for a plan, well, the Hawks are making it up with what they have to, thanks to holding on to somethings for longer and more money than they should have. But we’ve been over that and over that.