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Calgary Flames' Jiri Hudler, from the Czech Republic, skates during the first day of training camp in Calgary on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Calgary Flames' Jiri Hudler, from the Czech Republic, skates during the first day of training camp in Calgary on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Calgary Flames send forward Jiri Hudler to Florida Panthers for draft picks Add to ...

The Calgary Flames dealt an impending unrestricted free agent Saturday by shipping forward Jiri Hudler to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and a fourth-rounder in 2018.

Hudler was considered one of the top rental players available ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline. He leaves a team languishing near the bottom of the Western Conference for a club that has been near the top of the East standings for weeks.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jiri to the Panthers,” said Panthers general manager Dale Tallon. “He is a highly skilled and experienced player that adds leadership, character and offensive ability to our team.”

Hudler, a 32-year-old Czech, has 10 goals and 25 assists in 53 games this season. He had 76 points in 78 games for the Flames last season and won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player.

Flames general manager Brad Treliving was expected to hold a media availability later Saturday before the Flames’ home game against the Ottawa Senators.

Shortly after the Hudler deal was announced, the Panthers completed a trade with the Detroit Red Wings to acquire defenceman Jakub Kindl for a sixth-round pick in 2017.

Kindl has six points in 25 games this season with Detroit. The 29-year-old Czech has 68 points (16-52) in 273 career regular-season games, all with the Red Wings.

He also has five points (1-4) in 19 career playoff games.

Hudler, meanwhile, made his NHL debut with Detroit in the 2003-’04 season.

Hudler, who has appeared in 77 playoff games over his career, was part of Detroit’s Stanley Cup-winning roster in 2008. He has 406 points (155-251) in 657 regular-season games over parts of 11 seasons with the Flames and Red Wings.

Entering Saturday’s games, the Flames were just five points out of last place in the West while the Panthers led the Atlantic Division and were in second place in the East.

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