SUNRISE — When Bill Zito took over as general manager of the Florida Panthers, he wanted to add veteran players to the team’s young core in order to set the foundation for a winning culture.
He made that very clear with his first two roster moves in Sunrise.
On Sept. 24, 2020, he traded for Patric Hornqvist, a two-time Stanley Cup champion who knows just about everything there is to know about winning after winning back-to-back Cups alongside Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Two weeks later, he made Radko Gudas his first-ever free-agent signing.
It was questioned. Gudas, the cheapshot artist?
Gudas, the headhunter?
He was certainly a controversial figure, picking up four suspensions in over the course of a three-year span with the Philadelphia Flyers. He also was considered pretty dirty during his time with the Lightning.
Only since racking up multiple suspensions for slashing opponents in the head and hitting opponents up high, Gudas has not received a suspension since February 2019.
His game has certainly changed.
“It wasn’t easy,” Gudas said.