By Brandon Murphy (@2murphy8)
Radko Gudas was acquired two seasons ago in a deal that sent Braydon Coburn to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Gudas is often criticized for playing physical and crossing the line at times but remains an effective second pair defenseman when he plays a hard, disciplined game.
Don’t be fooled by his Viking look, Radko Gudas can play a solid two-way game when he isn’t going out of his way to make a hit. The 27-year-old Prague native is known to strike fear into his opponents by delivering massive hits, but sometimes crosses the line between clean and dirty.
That being said, Gudas’ most underrated ability is to put pucks towards the net. His impressive Corsi and Fenwick numbers are proof of that. Gudas doesn’t get enough credit for making good breakout passes and generating scoring chances with shots from the point. It’s even more impressive when you find out he starts in his own end 54.6% of the time at even-strength and gets no power play time.
Radko Gudas knucklepuck goal! pic.twitter.com/uNVVcbi6xx
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) March 30, 2017
Since the start of last season, Radko Gudas ranks 13th in shot attempt percentage (minimum 100 games played) among defenseman ahead of offensive-minded defensemen like P.K. Subban, Brent Burns, and John Klingberg.
Gudas set career highs in goals (six) and points (23) this season while averaging 19:18 minutes of time on ice per game for the Flyers, cementing himself as a solid fourth defenseman. Gudas signed a four-year contract extension that started last season. Since then, he has been suspended once for six games after hitting Austin Czarnik. After that suspension in early October, Gudas cleaned up his game a little more (sometimes escaping suspension).
After the regular season, the tough Czech went to represent his country at the World Championships, posting three points in eight games.
Radko Gudas lays the boom on Mikko Rantanen 🚫💥 pic.twitter.com/0EaAXqhm1M
— Tumblr Hockey (@TumblrHockey_) May 9, 2017
Gudas isn’t the biggest piece of the Flyers future, but he can definitely succeed as a second or third pair defenseman and the fact he is a right-hand shot increases his value to the Flyers. He might slide down to a third-pair role in a few years, but can still be effective and hopefully be a key penalty kill contributor and keep up his physical play. Other NHL fans see Gudas as a dirty player, but watching him play almost every night you can see the value he brings to the team and how good he can be when his head is in the game.