Detroit Red Wings: Radko Gudas is someone to target in free agency

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings have many areas to fill or upgrade this summer. Detroit is in the market for a top-six forward, preferably a center, plus a proven goaltender to pair with Ville Husso and a right-handed defender; these are the main areas I’ve identified as the primary off-season focus.

General manager Steve Yzerman can fill the void in various ways, whether via trade, free agency, or even the draft. A few big-time forwards are rumored to be on or headed to the trade market. A few teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, are tight against the cap leaving star players like Kyle Connor, William Nylander, and even Auston Matthews’ future in limbo.

Also, there is the whole Alex DeBrincat/Ottawa Senators situation. If Yzerman has the appetite to make a blockbuster move, this summer might be the perfect storm. The Detroit Red Wings have been hoarding draft capital and currently sit with two first-round draft selections this year and next, plus three second-rounders this summer. The Detroit Red Wings also have a bunch of prospects that could become a centerpiece of a deal for the right impactful player.

The Detroit Red Wings need to consider signing Radko Gudas this summer.

Now, back to a more specific position. The Detroit Red Wings are in the market to sign a proven right-handed defender to fill the void left after Yzerman traded Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks for a significant haul ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. Part of that haul included a first-round pick (No. 17) in the upcoming draft via the New York Islanders.

Following the Hronek deal, head coach Derek Lalonde was forced to play left-handed Ben Chiarot on the right side. It’s not entirely out of the ordinary to play a defenseman on his off-side, and Chiarot had done it in the past. Still, the Detroit Red Wings will undoubtedly be looking to slide Chiarot back to his natural left side, where he’s likely more comfortable, and add in a reliable right-hander.

At the conclusion of the regular season, Yzerman, Lalonde, and captain Dylan Larkin all had a similar message. The organization wants to get tougher this offseason and become harder to play against. Pending free agent Radko Gudas checks both of those boxes. Gudas, 33, began his career in Tampa Bay before landing in Philadelphia, Washington, and Florida. Gudas is coming off a three-year deal that paid him $2.5 million.

Gudas is a physical defender who can get caught trying to line up a massive hit, leaving his defense partner in a precarious position. But when Gudas plays his physical brand of hockey but is controlled, he can be an intimidating force on the backend and just what the Detroit Red Wings require. Gudas would fit nicely on Detroit’s second pairing behind Moritz Seider.

5 free agent forwards to target this off-season. dark. Next

The veteran defender recorded two goals and 17 points and was a plus-14 this past season averaging just over 17 minutes per night. Gudas also maintained a Corsi For Percentage of 55% along with a Relative Corsi Percentage of 0.6. Gudas will likely be looking to earn $3-3.5 million annually on his next deal, which is affordable. If the Detroit Red Wings seek an even cheaper placeholder, Luke Schenn also fits the mold.