As the Philadelphia Flyers continue their quest to return to the postseason for the first time in two years, they have had many great players stepping up to the plate. Shayne Gostisbehere is walking away with high Calder consideration, Claude Giroux is getting his groove back and Steve Mason is shining as the starter going into the critical end of the season. However, there is another defenseman that has been impressive, and that is Radko Gudas.
The Tampa Bay Lightning traded Gudas to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 2, 2014. He’s a big guy, who weighs in at around 204 pounds and loves to deliver bone-crushing hits. However, he had been in Philadelphia for a year and was struggling, in the sense that he wasn’t scoring any goals. That all changed once Philadelphia entered critical play, where each game in March mattered and would help lift them back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He scored, for the first time in over a year, in the March 5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He skated off that night with two goals and two assists for an amazing four-point performance.
Now, as Philadelphia continues to outplay their opponents in order to keep their season alive, Gudas has been a contributor for the team. In his last 10 games, he has five goals and three assists, and he has been one of the most impressive defenseman on their roster. Not to mention, he’s fired 26 shots on goal.
“I think I’ve just got to play my game,” Gudas said after his four-point explosion. “I have to play it simple and make sure I play great defensively. If I do that, the offense is going to come by itself. I have to make sure I am in the right position at the right time, and we’ll see from there.”
And it has come back. When Philadelphia has needed him to provide as much as he could, Gudas has delivered. He’s shooting more, blocking shots, roughing up the opponents and being a better defenseman. If he can keep this up, it may be his play that will help Philadelphia extend their season past April.
“I had a good time here,” Gudas said of Philadelphia. “I am enjoying myself here.”