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Jiří Hudler (pronounced /ˈjɪriː ˈhʌdlər/ in English; born January 4, 1984) is a Czech professional ice hockey player with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. After beginning his career in the Czech Extraliga with Vsetín, Hudler was drafted by the Red Wings in 2002 and won the Stanley Cup with the club in 2008. Hudler also played for Dynamo Moscow for one season before the team was merged to form UHC Dynamo.

Hudler spent his youth in the elite Czech Extraliga with HC Vsetín, beginning in 1999–00. After recording a point-per-game season with the club in 2001–02, he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings with their first pick (58th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He remained in the Extraliga the following season, including a brief stint with Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Superleague before moving to North America for the 2003–04 season. Although he competed in 12 games for the Red Wings that season, he played the majority of the campaign with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL), Detroit's minor league affiliate, scoring 49 points in 57 games in his rookie AHL season. Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Hudler remained in the AHL the following season while also returning to play with Vsetín for seven games. Although NHL play resumed in 2005–06, he played his third season with the Griffins, breaking out with 36 goals and 96 points in 76 games to be named to the AHL Second All-Star Team. His 60 assists established a single-season Griffins team-record.

Hudler finally broke through onto the Red Wings roster in 2006–07 and scored 25 points in 76 games to be chosen team rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. No one in the NHL scored more goals in fewer average minutes per game (10:02) than Hudler. Hudler played sporadically in the playoffs, often splitting time with Kyle Calder. He chipped in two assists in six games. Former Wings teammate and fellow Czech Robert Lang took Hudler under his wing when Hudler joined the team. Hudler spent time living in Lang's home when he first arrived in the United States, and Lang even went so far as to call Hudler "a third son." Following his rookie NHL season, Hudler spent time during the off-season training with fellow NHLers Chris Chelios, Mathieu Schneider, and Rob Blake in Southern California. As a result, he said that he felt faster and stronger.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jiri Hudler."
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