Ivan Provorov may have been the best Philadelphia Flyers defenseman last season, but Radko Gudas was the most consistent. Night-in and night-out the Czech was effective at both ends of the ice.
For the second year in a row, Gudas was one of the best defensive players on the Flyers’ roster and made one of the best defensive plays of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Besides that, Gudas had one of the better Corsi numbers on the team. A lot of that had to do with his willingness to shoot every puck he touched in the offensive zone. Still, there’s no doubt that when the defender is on the ice he’s usually moving the puck forward.
For his efforts in that department, Gudas had his best offensive season of his career, statistically. He recorded 23 points, including six goals, both career highs.
Gudas is a top-four defenseman on the Flyers. That may change in the coming years with the influx of young blueliners, but his spot on the top two pairings is cemented for now.
At 26 years old, Gudas has settled into the player he’s going to be. When it comes to him, you know what you’re going to get and that’s an effective defensive player with the ability to move the puck.
What you saw last season from Gudas is what you should expect to see this season. He may not out-pace himself in points, but he’ll be around that 20-point mark again. Like the roster battles, that will start to slip with his ice time over the next couple of years, but not next season.
I haven’t touched on Gudas’ history of suspensions and dirty hits because I believe that doesn’t fit his identity as a player. He’s way too effective to be labeled that before the skills he regularly shows on the ice.
However, it’s important for the team and the player if he avoids any more of those plays. Last season the team missed him for the first six games as he sat out a suspension for a hit on the Boston Bruins’ Austin Czarnik in the preseason.
From there, there were no other issues. The Flyers should hope that that marked a change for Gudas and should help his reputation around the league moving forward.