Report: Maple Leafs reached out to Radko Gudas as a UFA, but he didn’t want to play in Canada
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould1 month ago
According to a new report from Czech outlet DenikSport, the Toronto Maple Leafs reached out to veteran defenceman Radko Gudas in unrestricted free agency before he elected to sign with the Anaheim Ducks.
Gudas, 33, signed a three-year deal worth $4 million per season with the Ducks on July 1. The six-foot defenceman, who shoots right, spent the previous three seasons with the Florida Panthers, most recently helping the club reach the 2023 Stanley Cup Final.
In conversation with DenikSport contributor Pavel Bárta (translated from Czech), Gudas said he wanted to stay with the Panthers but the two sides could not agree to terms. He added that he knew this would likely be one of his last contracts and he “had to look at the financial side.”
The Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames also reached out to Gudas, who said he was “glad they were interested” but added that he did not want to play in Canada — especially not in Toronto — due in part to the extreme media pressure. Gudas and the Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2023 playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Lightning originally selected Gudas in the third round (No. 66 overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. The Prague product made his NHL debut with the Lightning during the 2012–13 season and spent parts of three seasons with the team before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2015.
Gudas played for the Flyers for four full seasons, helping the team qualify for the playoffs twice, before being sent to the Washington Capitals in 2019 in a one-for-one trade for Matt Niskanen. After just one season in D.C., Gudas signed a three-year contract with the Panthers as an unrestricted free agent.
Through 682 career games over parts of 11 NHL seasons with the Lightning, Flyers, Capitals, and Panthers, Gudas has collected 33 goals and 164 points. He’s added 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 57 career playoff contests.
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