Philadelphia fans have been known to enjoy when the Flyers have an edge or a feistiness to them, so there’s good reason why Radko Gudas became somewhat of a fan favorite for his take-no-prisoners style of play. And Flyers fans will be glad to know that Gudas isn’t going anywhere.
It was announced Thursday evening that Gudas, 26, has signed a four-year deal to remain in Philadelphia, and Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported the contract is worth $13.4 million. The deal came with Gudas set to become a restricted free agent, having just completed a three-year, $2.975-million deal.
Gudas’ raise, which is a significant one that will see him earn $3.35 million per season, could come in handy, especially when it comes to paying off potential fines. This past season, Gudas was fined and suspended once by the NHL, but he was involved in at least a handful of questionable, borderline incidents that could have seen him slapped with further suspensions or fines.
Gudas has been able to walk the fine line between suspendable offense and clean hit at an almost expert level, and it’s made him one of the most devastating hitters in the league, for better or worse. There was one week in February where Gudas delivered questionable hits five nights apart, though he managed to avoid suspension on both. He also dodged a bullet early in the campaign after a hit on New York Rangers’ winger Viktor Stalberg and again in late-March when he delivered a hit that seemed to rattle Arizona Coyotes veteran Shane Doan.
It’s more than the hits that have earned him respect in Philadelphia, though. He set a career-high with five goals this past season and became an every-game second-pairing blueliner for Philadelphia. Gudas averaged nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game and he fit right in during his first season as a Flyer.
He came to Philadelphia by way of a trade deadline deal that sent Braydon Coburn to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The return for the Flyers included Gudas and a first- and third-round pick.
“I think I have a bigger role here in the team and that helps me grow as a player,” Gudas told the Flyers’ Steve Coates following the campaign. “The more I can help my teammates the better. I really like the city here and my family is enjoying the time here, too, so it was a great move for us.”
The Flyers now enter the off-season with nearly $12 million in cap space with only a few additions to make.