This is no breaking news, the Toronto Maple Leafs fan base is quite aware of this: the Maple Leafs need to upgrade at right defence this offseason. Everyone was quite able to see the woes on the blue line’s right side during the postseason, and the Boston Bruins surely did not miss the opportunity to benefit from that void on Toronto’s roster.
While their playoff run is over, the Leafs still have a new mission in mind and that is to correct their weakness to come out stronger next season. James Mirtle of The Athletic has put together an interesting list of candidates that could be acquired through trades or on the free agent market this summer to fill the void on the right in Toronto.
However, on Thursday, Mirtle suggested one player that could make the Maple Leafs fan base have nightmares. Mirtle believes it could work for the Leafs to go after Philadelphia Flyers’ controversial defender Radko Gudas.
“Despite his physicality and “reckless behaviour” we’ll call it, Gudas is actually an extremely effective defenceman. Most players he’s compared to (ie. Polak) get stuck in their own end, racking up Hits and Blocked Shots because their team never has the puck. Unlike these players, Gudas is able to drive play up the ice and spend more time in the OZ than the DZ when he’s on the ice,” writes Mirtle.
From a statistical point of view, Gudas can do it all with his physicality, supplying over 200 hits and blocking at least 100 shots for the third straight season. He is also a frequent contributor on the penalty kill in Philadelphia.
Don’t worry, Mirtle also provided some negatives arguments, realizing that Gudas is mostly a bottom-pair defender who hasn’t faced heavy competition. He will enter the third of the four years on his current contract, and let’s not forget - the guy can be a liability and has been suspended several times in his career.
Mirtle explains how a transaction could be make with the Flyers:
“With Gudas, I have an interesting idea that would make sense for both teams: Toronto takes on Jori Lehtera’s contract ($4.7 million, expires at the end of the season) and sends a late round pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Gudas. This would give the Flyers tons of cap flexibility to sign someone like Tavares or Stastny, and Toronto gets their coveted top-four RHD without giving up any assets. The Leafs might need to send an additional pick or prospect Philadelphia’s way to balance out the trade, or they could consider taking on Andrew MacDonald’s contract instead ($5 million for two more years).”
What do you think? Would you want to see the Leafs pull the trigger on this option?