Monday, April 21, 2014

Pens must bench Scuderi immediately

Update: According to capgeek, teams can only use the compliance buyout (amnesty) on contracts signed before September 12, 2012. Looks like the Pens are out of luck there. The Pens could still buy out the contract but a portion would count against the cap. Maybe they can trade him to the Maple Leafs; they're always looking for gritty North Americans who never have the puck.

When the Pens signed Rob Scuderi to a 4 year, $13.5 million contract last offseason, they expected him to solidify the blue line, bring some veteran leadership, and establish a defensive pairing with Kris Letang. One year in, this signing looks like a disaster. Scuderi has been either injured or downright terrible all year. Take a look at this chart, from

The color of the circle represents 5 on 5 Corsi for %. The bluer the better, the redder the worse. Scuderi has been a possession sinkhole this year, despite not playing against the toughest competition. He's also started more of his shifts in the offensive zone than the defensive zone, which you'd think would lead to a better Corsi for. That was the regular season. What about the two playoff games so far?

Now of course, this based on only two games. Once again, Scuderi starts more in the offensive zone. He seems to be playing against tougher opposition, but he's still a possession sinkhole. He's simply bringing nothing to the table. Looking at the playoffs chart, Letang is right there with him. Letang has also had two miserable games of turnovers, frustration, and penalties. But Letang, when he's on his game, is a dynamic player. He's capable of playing solid defense, joining the rush, contributing offensively, and manning the point on the power play. He's also just returning from a stroke. Scuderi is a one dimensional, stay at home defenseman, and he is failing at it. The Pens would be wise to bench him in favor of Simon Despres, who has put up pretty solid possession number. Even Robert Bortuzzo would be a better option. Moreover, the Pens would be wise to consider buying out Scuderi's contract after the season. They would have to pay 2/3 of his remaining deal, but it would not count against the salary cap. They supposedly have plenty of young defenseman who should be ready to play in the NHL. The other option is paying $3.375 million/year for ages 36, 37, and 38 of Rob Scuderi.

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