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Gudas agrees to three-year contract with Panthers

Defenseman scored 15 points with Capitals last season @NHLdotcom

Radko Gudas agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 30-year-old defenseman scored 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 63 games with the Washington Capitals last season. He was traded to the Capitals on June 14, 2019 for defenseman Matt Niskanen and had two assists in five Stanley Cup Playoff games. 

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"Obviously really excited to start my career in Florida," Gudas said Saturday. "I was pretty happy with the interest of the team and it wasn't really a big decision for me. It was easy decision for me. It's a great team with a great coach (Joel Quenneville), so looking forward to join them and get started."

Panthers general manager Bill Zito said Gudas' physical style was a factor that made him attractive to Florida.

"He's obviously a size-strength defenseman who brings an element to the game that I think everybody who's ever played against him knows," Zito said. "Not unlike (forward) Patric Hornqvist (acquired by Florida from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sept. 24), is a guy that you hate to play against and generally, that means you want him on your team."

Gudas said he agreed with that assessment.

"I always look forward to play the physical game and make sure that teams don't like coming in our building," he said. "They want somebody that plays hard every night, that's tough to play against and I enjoy myself playing hard in the 'D' zone. So if I can do that for a new team, I'm willing to take on that role and I'm looking forward to do that. I'm the guy to do that."

Selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round (No. 66) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Gudas has scored 120 points (26 goals, 94 assists) and has 619 penalty minutes in 479 regular-season games with the Capitals, Flyers and Lightning and three assists in 20 playoff games.

"Very very smart defender," Zito said. "One of the things that comes to mind when you scout, when you talk to him, in addition to the edge that he plays with is he's generally in the right place at the right time defensively as well. So that's a great addition I think to our defensive core, both from a leadership standpoint, a competitive standpoint and actually a very good defensive defenseman." staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this report

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