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Gudas 'a little bit shocked' by trade to Capitals from Flyers

Defenseman eager to contribute after rare deal between division rivals

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

Radko Gudas has spent much of his NHL career viewing the Washington Capitals as the enemy. Now he's one of them.

Gudas was part of history when he was traded by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Capitals for Matt Niskanen in a swap of defensemen Friday. It was the first time the Capitals and Flyers made a trade involving two full-time NHL players since Washington entered the NHL in 1974. 

Cue the adjustment period.

 

[RELATED: 2019-20 NHL Trade Tracker]

 

"As I played (in Philadelphia) for years I made good friends," the 29-year-old said Tuesday. "Obviously, it's going to be exciting game for me to play my old team but I'm in a new group now and I'm looking forward to becoming very good friends and brothers with the team that I'm playing (on) right now."

Being traded to a heated rival? Even Gudas wasn't expecting that.

"It's obviously not something that's common," he said. "It's a little strange. 

"I was a little bit shocked to be honest, but when I heard where I'm going, I was pretty happy that I got traded to a team that's well known for their winning and their will to win every game they play … As I soaked it in more, I got more excited."

Gudas had 63 penalty minutes in 77 games this season and brings a physical presence to a team that already has rugged wing Tom Wilson. 

"I don't think the teams are going to be liking (our) lineup against them," Gudas said. "I think if we can put that in their minds and spark it up with an early hit on the front end or back end, there's always something you can do at the start of a game."

Video: Caps deal Niskanen to Flyers in exchange for Gudas

Gudas signed a multiyear contract to remain with the Flyers on June 23, 2016. Washington said Philadelphia will retain 30 percent of his salary and that the contract will expire after next season.

Niskanen has two years remaining at $5.75 million per season on a seven-year contract he signed July 1, 2014 to join Washington as a free agent.

Gudas had 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) and was plus-6 this season. He has 105 points (24 goals, 81 assists) and 579 penalty minutes in 416 NHL games with the Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Obviously you guys know that I'm playing physical hockey and I'm a simple player," Gudas said. "The first pass to the first open man, pushing away from your own net, good PK. Those are the things that I'm focused on throughout the season. 

"Obviously I want to help the offense as well, but the main thing I can help -- work well with the team, work my back off and just do anything that they need me to do. I'm not picky to play a role or not. I'm just accepting what it is when it's a well-oiled machine, so that's what I'm looking forward to do."

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