Hudler appears to be heading to free agency

DETROIT — Nothing has changed on the talks with Jiri Hudler, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“Obviously, he’s still our guy,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Not much has changed. We kind of both have different thoughts and ideas on what the market is. Jiri played very good for us. He played hard. He scored 25 goals and that’s a lot of goals today in the National Hockey League. He got to play with two pretty good players in (Valtteri) Filppula and (Henrik) Zetterberg.”

The Wings probably won’t pay much more than $3.2 million a season to keep Hudler. And the deal Colorado gave David Jones (four years at $4 million per) could sway Hudler to test the open market. Jones scored 20 goals and had 17 assists last year.

“Ideally we’d like to keep him, but he’s certainly got that unrestricted free agency and coming off the kind of year he had I’m sure he wants to explore all his options and make a decision on whether he wants to hit the market or stay in Detroit,” Holland said. “I know he likes it in Detroit. If there’s a number there that works we’d like to make it work. He’s in a very good situation.”

The Wings have 19 players signed, including rookies Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith, with a salary-cap hit of just over $46 million, leaving them just over $24 million under the cap.

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