Photo via Dobbersports
While mostly forgotten due to never suiting up thanks to a knee injury, Radko Gudas was one of the pieces in the Braydon Coburn trade. While he may have been the odd man out in Tampa, he does have the potential to be a decent piece on the Flyers blueline. That said, he’s one of many defenders available for next season for new coach Dave Hakstol to use.
Gudas’s boxcar stats are not impressive. His PIM total is a bit concerning, especially given that this past season he took 1.2 PIM/60 compared to drawling 0.2 PIM/60 which is quite concerning.
Via Own the Puck
Via Own the Puck
Oddly enough, at 5v5, Gudas scores at a top 4 rate while driving offensive possession and being weak defensively. He’s actually oddly comparable to Luke Schenn and costs about 25% of Schenn.
So, if given the choice between Luke Schenn and Radko Gudas, it’s probably wise to take Gudas who, while being slightly less talented, is better bang for his dollar. The Flyers are sadly loaded with a ton of third pair/borderline second pair defenders, but no real top pair defenders. Even Mark Streit, who’s really good, isn’t a top paid minutes eater as his age.
While Luke and Brayden Schenn are good players, they might be forced out on account of being the best assets capable of bringing back the missing top pair defender.
Another option if a top pair defender isn’t directly available in a trade is to move the Schenn Brothers for picks only, say a 1st, 2nd and 3rd, then use the freed up money to sign Cody Franson to a 4-5 year deal. A Streit-Franson pair with MDZ-Medvedev and MacDonald-Gudas probably is still a large improvement over last season. The extra upside to this deal, burying MacDonald in a third pair role where his talent level actually is could cause him to look good enough that he is tradeable next summer.
Assuming that Gudas plays the third pair, he’ll be fine. He may even be able to survive occasional second pair duty if injuries or penalties dictate he needs short bursts on the second pair. Gudas is the poor man’s Luke Schenn, the good news though, he costs roughly 2M less than Schenn and assuming that space brings in a top pair defender to fill the void of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen, it is better for Gudas to play over Schenn. However, if the current roster is the opening night roster, it’s much better for Schenn to play over Gudas.