Friday, June 14, 2019

NHL trade review: Flyers acquire Niskanen, Gudas to Caps

Photo from Sporting News


        The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas. The Flyers have also retained 30% of Gudas' contract.

        The main part of this trade is that the Caps are making a cap dump. They now have nearly $13.5 million in cap space. The Flyers can afford to take on Niskanen's contract, as they have nearly $30 million in cap space, and they need to get over the minimum salary cap, though they should just by this trade and if they can sign Kevin Hayes, whose rights they acquired from Winnipeg.

         Gudas has a reputation of a dirty player, which is true. But Niskanen is aging and had his lowest point total this year since 2012-13, which was shortened by a lockout. Gudas is younger, and while he doesn't score as much as Niskanen, he is very psychical and a consistent shot blocker.

         Gudas, 29, scored four goals with 16 assists for 20 points in 77 games this year for the Flyers. in his NHL career for the Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, Gudas has scored 24 goals and 81 assists for 105 points in 416 games.

         Niskanen is probably the better all-around defender, but he is 32 and is coming off a down year. The Flyers are betting that it was just a down year, and not a sign of age. He gets over 100 hits a year, but that is not nearly as good as Gudas' rate (over 200 a year, including one year of over 300). He blocks shots a lot as well, though not as consistent as Gudas, though consistency with blocked shots isn't really a good stat to look at. He also scores more.

        Niskanen, 32, scored eight goals with 17 assists for 25 points in 80 games with the Capitals this past year. In his NHL career for the Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars, Niskanen has scored 64 goals with 259 assists for 323 points in 881 games.

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