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Pittsburgh Penguins Free Agent Target: Jiri Hudler

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Jiri Hudler is a free agent come July 1st and the Penguins should go after him if they want to get even more scoring into the lineup next season.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Draft is in exactly one week and free agency opens in two weeks. The Penguins could very well have a trade for Marc-Andre Fleury done by the time that free agency opens, and potentially have some cap space available to help full out the rest of their roster.

While most of the team is under contract for next season, the Penguins may want to upgrade the left winger spot on the team due to Chris Kunitz being 37 years old. A suitable replacement for Kunitz would be Jiri Hudler, who was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline. Here are a couple reasons as to why Pittsburgh should look into signing Hudler:

Not as Expensive

Even though the salary cap is expected to go up a couple million this season, teams are still going to be cautious when it comes to signing players. Last summer, we saw a lot of players having to sign for way less then they thought they were going to get and that was because of the cap. A player like Jiri Hudler could have to settle in the two million per season range and that would be very ideal for the Penguins, since they wouldn't have to spend much to get him. Here is Jiri Hudler's HERO Chart compared to Kyle Okposo, who is one of the best scorers that will hit the market and will for sure receive both high salary and term:

They're both very similar players when it comes to Goals/60, FirstA/60, and Primary P/60 but Okposo is likely going to get paid over five million per season while a player like Hudler will likely be in the Penguins range.

Upgrades Left Winger spot

Going into next season, arguably the biggest weakness for the Penguins is the left winger spot. Sure, Carl Hagelin will be coming back but besides that, Conor Sheary needs to prove himself for a whole season and Chris Kunitz is in the final year of his contract and just hasn't looked the same the past couple seasons. Hudler would be the best left winger on the team and he could play with either Crosby or Malkin depending on what Mike Sullivan wants to do.

Hudler brings a great scoring touch as he had a career high 31 goals in the 2014-2015 season with the Calgary Flames. He cooled off a bit this year with 16 but he also missed some games due to injury. Hudler may be 32 years old but as long as the Penguins can get him cheap and only sign him for a couple years, he can really help this team next year as they look to repeat.