Penguins

Capitals trade Niskanen to Flyers for Gudas

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Matt Niskanen. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

The Capitals traded defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Flyers in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas on Friday morning.

Niskanen, 32, has two years remaining on his contract at a $5.2 million cap hit. Gudas, 29, has one year left on his contract and carries a cap hit of $3.35 million.

The Flyers are retaining 30 percent of Gudas' salary in the deal, which works out to be $1.005 million.

The move frees up more cap space for the Capitals, leaving them with a projected $12.481 million with which to work, with eight forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders already under contract. Jakub Vrana, a restricted free agent, will be the first priority. Vrana, 23, scored 24 goals and 23 assists in 82 games last season for the Capitals. They'll also need to re-sign 24-year-old Andre Burakovsky, who recorded 12 goals and 13 assists in 76 games.

Elliotte Friedman also speculated that this move could be used to free up cap space for a Carl Hagelin extension.

"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 team release. "Matt is a consummate professional and was a big part of our success. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.

"We feel this move provides us with financial flexibility as we look for additional ways to strengthen our team. In addition, we are pleased to welcome Radko to our organization. Radko is a good defensive defenseman that plays a competitive, physical game."

The Flyers have roughly $31 million in projected cap space for next season, with seven forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders already signed.

"We're very happy to have Matt join the Flyers," said Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a release. "He is a veteran, right-shot defenseman who has a track record of success as a Stanley Cup champion. Having played heavy minutes in all situations throughout his career, Matt will be a steadying influence to our talented and young group of defenseman."

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