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Jiri Hudler signs contract with Stars

Forward gets one-year deal, had 16 goals, 46 points with Flames, Panthers last season

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Free agent forward Jiri Hudler signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.

"He can play anywhere. I project him as a top six [forward]," general manager Jim Nill told the Stars website. "With our lineup, we are a top nine, top 12 some nights. His hockey IQ is as good as anybody in the game. I think when you look at him possibly being on our power play with the other skill guys we have, it is just another dangerous person for us as a weapon."

Hudler, 32, had six goals and 11 points in 19 games with the Florida Panthers last season and one assist in six Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was acquired from the Calgary Flames prior to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline; Hudler had 10 goals and 35 points in 53 games with the Flames.

"Depth is a huge part of winning in this league and he's another guy that adds to the depth that we have here," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "He's a smart player, thinks the game well. I think he is going to fit in great here."

Hudler had a career season with the Flames in 2014-15 when he had 31 goals and 76 points (his previous highs were 25 goals and 57 points). He helped them make the playoffs and win their Western Conference First Round series against the Vancouver Canucks, and won the Lady Byng Trophy.

In 11 NHL seasons, Hudler has 161 goals and 417 points in 676 regular-season games with the Panthers, Flames and Detroit Red Wings. He has 16 goals and 42 points in 83 playoff games and won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008.

Nill was with the Red Wings when they selected Hudler with the No. 58 pick of the 2002 NHL Draft.

"I drafted him. I've known him for 17 years," Nill said. "He's got a winning pedigree. He's been in the playoffs, won a Stanley Cup, played at the World Championship. He's got that pedigree. It just shows we are committed to taking that next step to be a winning team."

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