Fantasy Take: Niskanen Traded For Gudas
According to Elliotte Friedman, the Flyers will be retaining 30 percent of the Gudas contract. So this trade clears salary cap space for the Capitals, who Friedman suggested could use the cap space to re-sign someone like Carl Hagelin.
The Capitals add a physical defenseman to their team, as Gudas was tenth in the NHL in hits last season (255). Over the past four seasons, he is third in the NHL with 1009 hits. His presence could allow Tom Wilson to take on less of the dirty work and focus more on scoring. Brooks Orpik is also a UFA, so Gudas could replace him as the physical guy on the blueline.
Niskanen, meanwhile, has seen his scoring decline for two consecutive seasons. His power-play time over the past two seasons has also been minimal (just over 0:30/game). Expect him to take on a stay-at-home role on the Flyers, where he would likely be paired up with one of Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, or Travis Sanheim. None of these three defensemen were able to reach the 40-point mark last season. Gudas averaged just under 18 minutes of icetime per game, so they will probably provide Niskanen with more icetime than that (averaged between 22 and 25 minutes in his five seasons in Washington).
Players this helps, in order:
Dmitry Orlov (could increase power-play time and allow him to focus on a more offensive role)
Nick Jensen (could move into a top-4 role)
Ghost, Provorov, or Sanheim
Wilson (from a scoring perspective, but not from a penalty minutes/hits perspective)
Players this hurts, in order:
Niskanen (likely less to take on a scoring role in Philly)
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