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    NHL free agency: Ducks add forward Alex Killorn, defenseman Radko Gudas
    • July 1, 2023

    The Ducks went shopping on the opening day of free agency and added two 33-year-old veterans to help their young team develop.

    One was a solid right-shot defenseman in Radko Gudas, and the other a proven scorer, left wing Alex Killorn, who ended up being pretty costly, signing a four-year contract worth $25 million on Saturday.

    Killorn was a member of the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, in 2020 and 2021, and is coming off a 27-goal, 64-point season, which were career highs.

    The last-place Ducks had many missing elements in their lineup this past season – a long list, indeed – and one of the noticeable holes was a distinct physical presence.

    They took an important step in alleviating that issue by signing a three-year deal worth $12 million with the 6-foot, 208-pound Gudas. Though the pact was agreed upon, the announcement was initially delayed because the contract still needed to be signed and filed with the league.

    Gudas spent the past three seasons playing for the Florida Panthers after previous stops in Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. Of note, he was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2010 and would have overlapped with Ducks GM Pat Verbeek when Verbeek was in management with the Lightning. Verbeek also would have obviously been familiar with Killorn’s skill set and character in their time together in the organization.

    Gudas is appealing to the Ducks in that he has a tough, physical style of play and a reasonable amount of skill. He’ll create space for everyone around him. A young defenseman playing in the NHL for the first time – or trying to find his way – needs a partner that will help provide some room. Gudas is that player.

    The young Ducks defense corps will most certainly need that. Gudas was able to help the development of youngster Josh Mahura in Florida on the third pair this past season. The Panthers claimed Mahura on waivers from the Ducks before the start of the regular season, a good move for Florida, which went on to reach the Stanley Cup Final, and a blunder for Anaheim.

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    ​ Orange County Register