Early on Friday the NHL offseason really got going when the Capitals and Flyers swung a trade, flipping defenseman Radko Gudas and Matt Niskanen for each other. In the deal the Flyers will be picking up 30% of Gudas’ contract for this upcoming season, the final of his contract. Now let’s take a look at what this move means for each team.
The Flyers have a lot more cap room, meaning they can afford to take on an aging defenseman in Niskanen who is coming off of his worst season since his age 26 season. He will be turning 33-years old in December and he doesn’t really come with a cheap price tag, possesing a cap hit of $5.75 million for this upcoming season and he is under contract for another season after this upcoming one at the same price.
Philadelphia did however need to improve on the defensive side of things after finishing 29th in the league last season in allowing goals so on one hand you have to commend them for taking somewhat of a risk on a defenseman who has routinely been around five defensive point shares every season for the past five seasons, including leading the league with 7.0 defensive point shares in the 2013-14 season before having a down season this year.
Besides Niskanen the only other defenseman the Flyers really have money invested in is Shayne Gostisbehere, so Philadelphia is going to more than likely sink or swim this season on the ability of Niskanen to have a bounce back season.
Them taking on 30% of Radko Gudas’ contract this season is a little bit suspect to me, but given the Capitals cap situation it probably was the only way this deal was going to be possible.
Overall I don’t love this deal for Philadelphia, but I can appreciate them taking a risk on this one because they still finished with 82 points last season, which isn’t too bad considering how many goals they gave up.
I love this deal from the Capitals perspective. Call it shrewd, smart, clever, brilliant or whatever adjective you want to use it fits. Especially with the Flyers taking on 30% of Gudas’ contract, this is a great deal. Gudas just turned 29-years old and is coming off of being the highest-rated defender on the Flyers last season and he comes with a much cheaper price tag than Niskanen does and with Brooks Orpik being a free agent and coming off of a drop off the last two seasons, grabbing another defenseman this offseason was a need for Washington if they want to win another Stanly Cup and now they get Gudas and they still have John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Michael Kempny under contract for a few more seasons.
After this season Gudas will become an unrestricted free agent so if they want to keep him going forward they will obviously have to pay him, but for this season this is a really nice pickup.
Going forward we will have to wait and see if Gudas will be in the plans for the Capitals, but they now have more cap space to go forward with this offseason than they did before and I think they also got better on defense.
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