Our countdown to the 2016-17 season continues, with 37 days to go.
A few days ago we talked about the only three players to play for the Los Angeles Kings after their 40th birthday. This year LA doesn’t have anyone particularly close to hitting that mark, but they do have one player who’s notably older than the rest of the squad: 37-year-old Rob Scuderi.
Well, for now. Scuderi is three years older than Marian Gaborik and four years older than Tom Gilbert and Matt Greene. Is that too old for this roster? Given the level of competition for the final two spots on the Kings’ blueline, it might be. Only four defensemen played more than 50 games for the Kings last season, and they’re the four we know we’re seeing in Game 1: Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, and Brayden McNabb. Three others played 40+ games, but Jamie McBain, Luke Schenn, and Christian Ehrhoff are all gone. So the competition for the final two spots is a wide open battle between Gilbert, Greene, Zach Trotman, Kevin Gravel, Derek Forbort, and yes, Scuderi.
Is there any chance Scuderi grabs one of those two spots? It seems unlikely. LA probably wants a veteran on their defense, but Gilbert wasn’t signed just to get jettisoned for someone even older, and Greene survived his trip to waivers. And yet, Scuderi played all five playoff games, and probably still would have even if Alec Martinez was healthy. So it’s hard to rule him out entirely, even if some of us would like to.
At the very least, Scuderi seems like a potential press box depth guy if he misses out on a lineup spot. Loyalty, remember? Though Jon Rosen thinks that might be Gilbert’s spot, not Scuderi’s. Which would mean...
... well, the picture should become clearer during training camp. For better or for worse, we know what we’d get from “The Piece”; it remains to be seen which of his five defensive counterparts can prove to be a more useful piece.