Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said while Hudson, who turns 34 later this month, was appointed largely to help promising young ruckmen Jarrod Witts and Brodie Grundy develop, if his form merited it he could play ahead of them.
Hudson, who has played 161 AFL games with Adelaide, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane, will get his first chance to shine with the Magpies in Friday night's pre-season opener against the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Etihad Stadium.
"We want to provide him with a reward for his pre-season early in the NAB (Cup)," Buckley told reporters.
"How the season pans out beyond that is yet to be seen.
"But he's put himself in shape that if we think we're going to play our best football with him in the side he'll play.
"If we think there's an opportunity to develop either Jarrod or Brodie then Ben will probably be the one that misses out and takes a hit for that to happen.
"The development of our young players is a priority and that's why Ben's at the club first and foremost."
Buckley said Hudson had produced career-best performances in endurance tests since joining Collingwood in December's rookie draft and had already shown himself to be the fantastic club man they expected.
"He's got every opportunity and capacity to prove himself in our best side," the head coach said.
Fellow experienced recruits Quinten Lynch (from West Coast), Clinton Young (Hawthorn) and Jordan Russell (Carlton) will also represent Collingwood for the first time on Friday night.
Some of the club's untried draftees will also play, with Buckley saying Friday night's triple-header - when clubs can field 34 players over two mini-matches - was a better avenue for introducing youngsters than when teams are reduced to 22 subsequently in the pre-season.
But Grundy won't be among them, as Buckley said his body was not yet up to the demands of AFL football and he needs more gym time.
Andrew Krakouer and Brent Macaffer, who both had their seasons ruined by knee injuries last year, will play on Friday night.
But Luke Ball, who also sustained a serious knee injury last year, won't be ready until later in the pre-season.
It remains uncertain what part, if any, midfielder Dale Thomas (ankle) will play in the pre-season.