The Anaheim Ducks have signed bruising defender Radko Gudas to a three-year, $12MM contract worth $4MM per season, says Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Additionally, Trevor Carrick has signed a one-year, $775K, two-way deal with the team as well.
A ferocious, at times chaotic defenseman, Gudas enhanced his value significantly during the Panthers’ run to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. His brand of highly physical, often agitating play from the blueline looked even better under the bright lights of the postseason, and it’s likely that his play there drove his price tag up quite a bit.
Now 33 years old, it’s fair to question whether Gudas will play up to a $4MM valuation as he gets deeper into his thirties. But in the immediate term, Gudas is a massive upgrade for the Ducks’ defense and with their slate of young talent developing on their roster could still be on this contract by the time the Ducks push to make the playoffs.
While there isn’t much of an offensive game to speak of with Gudas, he’ll be a penalty-killing anchor for the Ducks and potentially serve as a valuable mentor for young blueliner Jamie Drysdale.
With lots of offensively-focused up-and-coming young left-shot blueliners in their pipeline, such as Olen Zellweger, Pavel Mintyukov, and Jackson LaCombe, the addition of Gudas gives the Ducks a veteran partner for one of those players.
Gudas’ defensive abilities will free up one of those players to take more risks offensively and more aggressively develop his offensive game in the NHL, and in the end his impact on the Ducks’ younger blueliners could be the most positive aspect of this free-agent signing.
Carrick will rejoin his brother in the Ducks organization, making his return to the team after spending last season playing for the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL. Carrick was quite good for the Crunch last year, scoring 15 goals and 31 assists in 60 regular-season games.