Tampa Bay Lightning: 30 Best Draft Picks In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

21. Radko Gudas

Draft Year: 2010

Position: Defense

If you have been a fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the last couple of season, there is virtually no way you haven’t heard the term “Fear The Beard” in conversation more than a few times. This would all be because of a young Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman by the name of Radko Gudas, who to this day has one of the most fierce beards (and hits) you will see in the National Hockey League.

Along with his eventual teammate Brett Connolly, the young Prague native was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman would draft Gudas in the 3rd Round (66th Overall.)

Much like some of the defensemen that have come before him, Radko Gudas was not what one would typically call a very offensively minded defenseman. At the same time, Radko Gudas has a set of skills that far outweigh the score sheet. If you have ever had the opportunity to personally witness Radko Gudas take the ice as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, you know all-too-well about the incredibly hard hits Gudas could lay on an opponent. Gudas also had an incredible ability to knock his opponents off the puck with ease.

On the flip side, those hard hits would get him in trouble from time to time. In his first full season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which was the 2013-14 season, Gudas would rank 6th in the entire NHL in penalty minutes. Unfortunately, as you can see, being able to lay down a solid, hard hit has its downfalls.

The following season, it looked as if Gudas had really started to perfect his play and was set to have a banner season. Unfortunately, that season was cut short by a knee injury that would cause him to miss the remainder of the season.

As the NHL Trade Deadline was quickly approaching, and the Tampa Bay Lightning were shaping up to make a deep run in the post season, Yzerman elected to trade Gudas to the Philadelphia Flyers along with a first and third round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn.

Much like the aforementioned Brett Connolly, Radko Gudas’ stay here in the Bolts Nation may not have been as long as some would have hoped for, but in his time here Gudas certainly made an impact and helped set himself up for a successful career in the National Hockey League.

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