National Hockey League

Washington Capitals trade Matt Niskanen to Philadelphia Flyers for Radko Gudas

The Washington Capitals sent Matt Niskanen, shown here celebrating last June, to the Flyers.

Both are right-handed shots, but Gudas is three years younger – a physical, penalty-killing presence on the blue line that could play on the team’s third pairing.

Nick Jensen is expected to take Niskanen’s spot in the top four beside Dmitry Orlov.

The Capitals now have more salary cap space to re-sign top restricted free agent Jakub Vrana, who is coming off a career season with 24 goals and 23 assists, and because Gudas’s contract comes off the books after next season, Washington will have more financial freedom to potentially extend top center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby, who both become unrestricted free agents in 2020.

"We would like to thank Matt for all of his contributions to our organization for the past five seasons," Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement.

“We feel this move provides us with financial flexibility as we look for additional ways to strengthen our team.

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