Late on Monday night, it was being reported by TSN that Jiri Hudler has agreed to come back to the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings after signing on the dotted line on his 2009 arbitration decision, which was a 2-year deal worth $2.875 million per season. Hudler had to accept the arbitration decision in order to return to the NHL, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but I don't think that exactly was the issue when he headed back to Russia and the KHL for a season. The Red Wings were in a pretty tight spot under the salary cap ceiling and his near-$3 million deal would have put the team over the top.
Hudler was a point-per-game player playing with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL, picking up 54 points in 54 games, which is great news for the Red Wings, while his career high in points with the Red Wings is 57 points in 82 games during the 2009 season, which did net him a rank of 99th overall in pool scoring, 73rd among forwards. I'll be curious to see how he fits back in with the NHL club and how his game may (or may not have) matured in his time away.
Being a top 100 scorer before leaving for Russia does give him an exemption onto the team table for the Red Wings, which I normally save for players that played last season, but we'll call him an exception. So, I'll be including his cap number in all dealings going forward. With Hudler in the fold, I now have the Red Wings sitting with 13 players signed at a cap number of $42.7 million, leaving roughly $14 million for 10 players to be signed, for the full active roster, of course.