Hi folks, we’re in the slow news cycle of the Edmonton Oilers offseason so it’s harder to produce content. I saw a few good stories to put together so I thought I’d just combine them into one blog.
I recently read this from the grapevine, that the Oilers offered Radko Gudas a contract but he turned it down because he didn’t want to play in Canada. The Flames and the Leafs also offered him a contract but he turned them down too for the same reason.
I have to say, I think the Oilers dodged a bullet big time here. After all, we already have a player type of his in Vincent Desharnais – and Desharnais is WAY younger and cheaper than Gudas. Gudas eventually wound up signing with the Anaheim Ducks for $12 million over three seasons ($4 million AAV). Desharnais is signed for this season at $762,500.
Desharnais is only 27 vs. Gudas who is 33. This is a big deal because players who are as physical as Gudas tend to run a much higher risk of having their bodies break down at – you guessed it – 33. This contract could very easily come back to blow up in the Ducks’ face – no such risk with Desharnais who is still here under a two-way contract, which means even if Desharnais can’t build on what he did last season you can still stash him in the minors without any consequences. Can’t do that with Gudas, who if he breaks down the Ducks will only be able to stash just under 25% of his cap hit in the minors – and only then after he clears waivers.
Let’s see how these two players go head-to-head.
Ability to play the PK? Check. Desharnais was third on the Oilers in PK TOI/GP last season with 2:14 per game. Gudas in Florida last year was fourth with 2:30. A negligible amount more.
Hits? Since Desharnais only played 43.9% of the season last year let’s look at Hits/60. Gudas was third on the Panthers last season with 14.97 hits/60 while Desharnais was 12th on the Oilers last season with 5.53. Expect that to rise if Desharnais is here for a full season as expected. Gudas may have been superior in this stat last season but Desharnais has much more upside while Gudas at his age has nowhere to go but down.
How about blocked shots? Again, we’re going to go with BkS/60 for comparison. Desharnais finished second on the Oilers last season with 5.9 BkS/60, finishing second only to Jason Demers who played a mere one game with the Oilers last season so we can basically consider that a statistical anomaly. Gudas led Florida with 5.95 Bks/60 last season.
That’s basically a saw-off. As you would expect, since both guys basically produce nothing more than secondary offence for their teams, neither player spends much time on the PP (for the record, Desharnais spent two seconds/game on the Oilers’ PP last season while Gudas only nine seconds/game on the Panthers PP last season…..yawn).
Defensive play? Desharnais finished +15 while Gudas was +14. Both players are very good defensively.
Even strength offence? Desharnais produced five assists in 36 games while Gudas produced 2-15-17 for Florida last season – and Desharnais is on record saying he’s already got a skills coach and said skills coach has been hired by him to work on his puck skills.
So, as you can see the only place where Gudas clearly has Desharnais beat is in hits and somewhat for secondary offence – but considering that Gudas is much more in danger of breaking down due to his age while Desharnais is actively trying to improve I’d still pick Desharnais over Gudas for the Oilers third pairing (both are third pairing right side D).
The Ducks also just re-upped Troy Terry so this pushes them past the cap floor by almost $2 million. They were previously the only team in the league who didn’t meet the cap floor. Will the Gudas contract come back to bite them? Perhaps not so much financially, but from a roster spot perspective, it might.