In the first big trade of the offseason, the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers have swapped defenders.
The Capitals have traded Matt Niskanen to the Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas.
Gudas, 29, has one year remaining on his contract at $3.35 million. Niskanen, 32, has two years remaining on his contact at $5.75 million. According to Isabelle Khurshudyan, Philadelphia will retain 30 percent of Gudas’ salary, roughly one million dollars.
Philadelphia is retaining 30 percent of Gudas’s salary.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) June 14, 2019
The move is more about the salary cap than skill. General manager Brain McLellan said in a statement that, “We feel this move provides us with financial flexibility as we look for additional ways to strengthen our team.” He added that “Radko is a good defensive defenseman that plays a competitive, physical game.”
The Czech defender has played 407 NHL games with Tampa and Philadelphia. In Philly, he was a staple on the penalty kill, logging 202 minutes, second-most on the team.
Gudas is a solid depth defender, but he has a reputation as a goon. In 2017, Gudas took Niskanen out of a game with a hit, though Niskanen did not miss any more games. Later that season, Gudas was suspended 10 games for slashing Matthieu Perreault.
Meanwhile, Niskanen’s stock with the Caps appeared to have dropped over the previous two seasons. In his season review for Niskanen, Peter said this:
The middle part of the 2018-19 season was a fiasco as Niskanen continued to play big minutes against tough players but for some reason had trouble stopping their attack and transitioning back to offense. And while Niskanen improved, along with the rest of the team, after the trade deadline, I’m still more than a bit worried about him.
MacLellan thanked Niskanen for his time with the Caps.
“We would like to thank Matt for all of his contributions to our organization for the past five seasons,” MacLellan said. “Matt is a consummate professional and was a big part of our success. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”
More from the Capitals:
The Washington Capitals have acquired defenseman Radko Gudas from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Matt Niskanen, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Gudas, 29, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, recorded 20 points (4g, 16a) in 77 games with the Flyers last season, his third career season with at least 20 points. The 6’0″, 204-pound defenseman’s 51.14 goals for percentage at five-on-five ranked first among Flyers defensemen and second overall on the team (Claude Giroux: 53.13) among players with at least 30 games played. Additionally, Gudas’ 202:06 total penalty kill minutes were the second most on Philadelphia.
In 416 career games between Philadelphia and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Gudas has collected 105 points (24g, 81a) and recorded 579 penalty minutes. Gudas, who was selected by Tampa Bay in the third round (66th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, ranks fourth in games played by a defenseman from that class. Additionally, Gudas’ career 51.88 shot attempt percentage (6,487 shot attempts for, 6,018 against) at five-on-five ranks 23rd in the NHL among active defensemen with at least 400 career games since 2012-13, Gudas’ rookie year. Since 2012-13, Gudas ranks second among NHL defensemen in hits (1,484).
Internationally, Gudas appeared in the IIHF World Championship for Team Czech Republic, recording four points (1g, 3a) in 10 games. In 34 career international games, Gudas has 10 points (4g, 6a).
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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