He may not be quite the same player he was in 2012 but Rob Scuderi‘s re-acquisition by the Los Angeles Kings on Friday is leaving many, including this writer, excited for the defensive stalwart’s return.
When he helped shut down the Detroit Red Wings vaunted attack in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, this writer emphasized how the Kings should sign the soon-to-be free agent. Lo and behold, the Kings did just that and three years later, Scuderi helped the Kings win their first Stanley Cup while playing a decisive role in the championship-clinching game.
In said game, Scuderi was the unfortunate recipient of an illegal Steve Bernier hit. Like a crafty young kid at recess, Scuderi stayed down while looking to see if he had the referee’s attention. He did and, as a result, Bernier received a five-minute major and a game misconduct to put the New Jersey Devils shorthanded. On the power play, the Kings scored three goals and the rest was, as they say, history.
When he returned to Pittsburgh in 2013, this writer was, for lack of a better term, heartbroken. While that does sound a tad overdramatic, Scuderi’s contributions did not go unnoticed by even the most casual of Kings fans. The native of Syosset, New York, was not the flashiest or charismatic member of the team but his textbook-defensive prowess in addition to his unbelievable tolerance for pain helped turn the Kings into a middle-of-the-pack club until a championship winner.
This season, however, Scuderi split his time between Pittsburgh and Chicago, blocking a combined 42 shots — a far cry from his total of 110 last season. Still, the 37-year-old is still capable of contributing at a competitive level, especially for a team where he fits seamlessly into a defensive system unlike in Pittsburgh or Chicago.
For a team which has thrived in puck possession, Scuderi averaged a Corsi rating of just under 44.9 per cent in his four years with the Kings. Since then, Scuderi’s average has been a shade under 40.6 which isn’t anything to panic about.
On Friday, the Kings and Blackhawks swaped waived defenseman as Scuderi ended his 17-game tenure with the defending Stanley Cup champions while Christian Ehrhoff is heading to the Windy City.
For Ehrhoff, his stint with the Kings lasted 40 games where he scored twice and added eight assists to go along with a -10 rating. In this writer’s opinion, while his brief stay was certainly decent enough, there was just something that indicated that Ehrhoff did not fit within the Kings’ defensive system. Still, we wish him the best in Chicago and thank him for his contributions nonetheless.
As for Scuderi, there is a palpable feeling of excitement to have the gritty blueliner back as fans will be hoping for similar success, even if he isn’t quite the same player he was in 2012.
In any case, Rob Scuderi is back with the Los Angeles Kings, and it feels good.