As GUDAS it Gets?by Chris Baker | December 8, 2017, 10:45 AM ET
TORONTO — The beginning to Radko Gudas’ Metros career couldn’t be much more ideal and his new team is reaping instant benefits.
While collecting an assist in Toronto’s 4-2 loss at home versus the Ottawa Slammers on December 4th, Gudas has been an imposing and somewhat calming presence on the Metros’ backend.
The hulking defender’s one point night in his debut was then followed up with his first goal in a Metros’ jersey last night, scoring the overtime winner 1:07 into the extra frame to give Toronto a hard fought 3-2 win over their expansion cousins the visiting Banff Rockies. So far this season the 26-year-old Czech National has a pair of goals and five points split between Kansas City and now Toronto.
“I’ve felt good on the ice, which I think has been the most important thing for me,” Gudas said. “Adjusting to new systems, the new language and getting on the same page with my new partner, I think that’s been the biggest thing for me. And I’ve felt good.
“Obviously the points are a nice touch.”
Gudas was immediately installed on the second pairing with another tough and rugged defender in Julian Melchiori and Metros GM Chris Baker noted that the big role in playing all situations has aided his start. Baker has liked the fact that the veteran of more than 200 games is a quick study.
“We think that he’s been a complement to our group,” Baker said. “On the other side of it, he’s new and there’s some things that he’s got to wrinkle out that, structural-wise, [Kansas City] might have done different and we don’t do the same thing.
“Those are the little things where with him you don’t seem to have to tell him more than once. You tell him once and it’s done. It’s covered.”
Melchiori seems to be benefiting from having another stay-at-home type on his flank. After having veteran Tyson Strachan as his partner for the first 15 games to start the season, Melchiori looks to be a little more comfortable with the puck in his last two games likely due in large part to having Gudas there to back him up.
“He understands the game,” Melchiori said. “He’s only a year older than me, but he plays the game like someone who’s been in the league a lot longer. He makes the simple plays which is really important.
“It’s a good addition. He knows who he is and what he’s good at. Scoring goals and getting on the scoresheet don’t really seem like priorities for him. He seems to really like the physical side of the game; something that I enjoy also. It’s a lot of fun being out there with him when we start throwing the body.”
Gudas said the transition between teams has been smooth and the best thing for him was jumping in and playing right away. The Metros are liking his first impression.
“We like the way he plays the game,” Baker said. “We see a lot of similarities in what we want from the player and what he brings to the table on a day-to-day basis.”
Goaltender Craig Anderson who was also part of the package with Gudas that saw Toronto backup Corey Crawford head to the Krunch, will see his first action tonight when the Metros visit Edmonton to take on the Supersonics.
To date, the 35-year-old Anderson has played in 10 games – all with Kansas City – and has a 2-6-0 record with a 3.25 GAA and .848 save percentage.