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Gudas and Sexton moves give Bolts grit and firepower

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

It's no easy task to oversee the decision making on one professional hockey team, much less two at the same time.

But that's just what Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman did on Monday.

First, late in the afternoon, the Lightning acquired forward Dan Sexton from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Kyle Wilson.

Then, just moments later, the team announced that defenseman Radko Gudas had been recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League and will join the big club in Sunrise for Tuesday's contest against the in-state rival Florida Panthers.

As far as Sexton is concerned, Bolts assistant general manager Julien BriseBois, who also serves as the general manager in Syracuse, noted the forward's NHL experience, which he said can be relied on in the event he is called up due to an injury on the Lightning.

"He's a dynamic offensive player," BriseBois added of Sexton. "We felt as if he is a better fit right now for our mix of players we have in Syracuse."

Sexton has skated in 88 career NHL games with the Ducks, recording 13 goals and 32 points during two seasons. He also set career highs in goals (nine), assists (10) and points (19) during the 2009-10 season and set his career high in games played in 2010-11 with 47, so as BriseBois noted, his experience should be a welcomed addition to a young group of players in Syracuse.

"With this trade, we have a little bit more depth now and a little more flexibility with our roster," BriseBois said.

In the second move of the day, Gudas was recalled to Tampa Bay, as he is one of the organization's most-highly touted prospects that has earned himself a look this season, much like those who have come before him this season, including Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn and Richard Panik.

Gudas leads all AHL skaters with a plus-32 rating this season, which serves as proof that he reliable defensively, which Lightning head coach Guy Boucher likes.

At 6-foot, 204 pounds, Gudas is not overbearing in height, but does bring a lot of size and physicality, as he has earned a reputation around the AHL as one of the league's most bruising blue liners.

His 207 penalty minutes rank fourth-most in the AHL as well, so he also brings a lot of grit and isn't afraid to drop the gloves with opponents.

"He's big and he's been an excellent penalty killer as well for us this year," BriseBois said. "He's good handling the puck and he has a right-handed shot too, so we feel like his presence will help us a lot."

BriseBois noted too that Gudas' decision-making with and without the puck has improved drastically.

"How he adjusts to the pace of the NHL remains to be seen, but he's played really well and he's smart, so we think he might be what our organization needs at the NHL level."

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