After a month of speculation, Rob Scuderi's destination is now final. Scuderi will return to his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The contract, which pays Scuderi $13.5 million over four years, will take him to the age of 38.
The buzz over the last couple days was that Scuderi would in fact be returning to the Eastern Conference, buzz which was confirmed this morning by Scuderi's management team...
Scuderi has it narrowed down to 2 teams, both in the Eastern Conference.— Brian Bartlett (@BBarts) July 5, 2013
Scuderi had played every game for the Kings since December 5, 2009. The Kings couldn't have asked for much more than what he brought to the team; he mentored Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov, he provided a steady presence on the back end, and he became an unofficial leader of the Kings the day he arrived. When he signed in 2009, Scuderi had just won a Cup with the Penguins, and he was asked by Rich Hammond about what he could contribute to the Kings' young players. His response:
It’s all about the attitude and work ethic that you bring to the rink every day. We tried to create a winning culture in Pittsburgh, and I’ve seen how fast things can turn around for a team. I’m hoping I can be one of the players who helps create that type of culture here. This is a talented team, with all the defensemen and with guys like Kopitar and Brown and Frolov. They’re not that far away. They were in it until the final month of the season, and I really think they’re not that far away.
Three years later, with Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, and Drew Doughty anchoring the defense, the Kings won their first Stanley Cup.
Some questions to ponder going forward...
- Was this contract too rich for Scuderi?
- What would it have taken to bring Scuderi back, and would it have been worth it?
- Does this tell us anything about Willie Mitchell's status?
- Who will play with Slava Voynov next year?
- What was your favorite Rob Scuderi moment?
Good luck, Rob!