The Penguins have finally replaced Rob Scuderi ... with Rob Scuderi.
The Penguins have re-signed the shot-blocking defenseman to a four year contract worth a total of $13.5 million. The deal will have a salary cap hit of $3.375 million. His previous contract with the Kings had a cap hit of $3.4 million.
Scuderi, 34, appeared in 48 games for the Kings last season and scored 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) and led the Kings with 66 blocked shots. He was a member of Los Angeles' 2012 Stanley Cup championship.
A fifth-round pick in 1998, Scuderi spent the first five seasons of his NHL career with the Penguins. After helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2009, he joined the Kings as a free agent.
EN Says: Wow. This kind of came out of no where.
In the immediate sense, this contract makes the Penguins a much tougher team defensively. For the past four years, the Penguins defensively have been a mess at times near their own net, particularly in the postseason. They also just happened to be without the services of Scuderi at that time. He will make this team a much more composed group near the net.
The team tried to replace Scuderi with a worn-out Jay McKee in 2009-10. After that experiment failed and a fruitless pursuit of Dan Hamhuis, they broke the bank to sign Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin. That endeavor had mixed results and the Penguins moved Michalek in a trade last offseason. Last season, the team brought in Douglas Murray who was more of a folk here than an effective shut-down defenseman.
It's easy to see him being teamed up with Kris Letang who has worked with multiple defensive partners the past few seasons. Scuderi worked with young defensenmen in Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov primarily during his time with the Kings.
It's doubtful no one will welcome his return more than goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury who has struggled in the postseason ever since Scuderi left in the 2009 offseason.
His addition creates quite a few questions marks in the short- and long-term.
As of now, the Penguins have a mere $751,667 of salary cap space. That number will have to increase if the Penguins hope to re-sign their restricted free agents such as Robert Bortuzzo or Dustin Jeffrey or if they wish to address a few holes on their third and fourth lines.
This signing could potentially lead to a trade on the blue line with the likes of Brooks Orpik or Matt Niskanen who are each scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Long-term, this signing now means they are scheduled to have $52,325,000 of salary cap tied in to 10 players for the 2014-15 season according to CapGeek.com. If the cap goes up to 70 million, that's less than $18 million to fill up the rest of the roster.
Here's the Penguins' schedule salary cap for the 2014-15 season:
Salary Cap Hit
|Evgeni Malkin, C||$9.5 million|
|Sidney Crosby, C||$8.7 million|
|Kris Letang, D||$7.25 million|
|Marc-Andre Fleury, G||$5 million|
|Paul Martin, D||$5 million|
|James Neal, LW||$5 million|
|Chris Kunitz, LW||$3.85 million|
|Pascal Dupuis, RW||$3.75 million|
|Rob Scuderi, D||$3.375 million|
|Beau Bennett, RW||$900,000-*|
Another question regardring Scuderi is age. He's 34 and he's taken a lot of abuse over the years blocking shots. He will be 38 at the end of this contract. How much will he be able to offer over the life of this deal?
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)