Trades & Signings

The Piece a Perfect Fit? Scuderi Returns to the Pens

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By Brian Metzer

Picture this… a phone rings on the boardwalk out in Los Angeles. A rugged looking guy walks over and answers the call, nods his head a couple of times and right before hanging up says “I’m on my way.”

Call it an additional scene at the beginning of the Motley Crue “Home Sweet Home” video. Only this time it isn’t Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee or Nikki Sixx on the receiving end of the call, it is Rob Scuderi.

That is right Pittsburgh, the Piece is on his way back to the Burgh – a place he shouldn’t have left to begin with. Yes, we all understand why it happened originally. He had to take the money, it was his first chance at a big contract and he won a Stanley Cup for his troubles, however, his loss was one that the Penguins were never able to offset.

Many have tried, but no one has been able to replace the Piece.

It is worth noting that Scuderi was made much better by being paired with Hal Gill, who also moved on a few years back. If I had to guess, I would say that Robert Bortuzzo could be a nice fit alongside Scuderi in creating a similar dynamic to the one that he enjoyed alongside the Gill.

Scuderi’s AAV comes in at $3.375, a manageable total for many teams, but a tough one for the Penguins to squeeze in. They did have just over $4 million in space available for next season, but still have RFAs to sign. I would assume that a defenseman will be moved to open some space and it could possibly Matt Niskanen.

To be clear, I haven’t heard anything on that, but it makes the most sense. Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Bortuzzo and Simon Despres will likely make up the core of the defense next season. Niskanen could stay and I sort of hope he does, as he is a very effective player on the bottom pairing, but they’re going to have to get creative to make it happen.

Ray Shero and Jason Botterill will have their hands full and have much work to do. Be aware that they can go over the cap today, but will have to be in compliance before hockey related activity begins later this fall.

Welcome back Scuds.

It is a bit unsettling seeing so many older guys locked up long term (Dupuis, Kunitz, Scuderi), but until it fails to work, the Piece fits in just fine.

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About Brian Metzer

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live and co-host of PensWeek on the Penguins Radio Network, serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, does similar work for TSN 1050 in Toronto, is a contributing writer for NHL.com, the Beaver County Times and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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