Penguins bring back free agent D Scuderi
In the end, familiarity was the deciding factor for Rob Scuderi.
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, too.
Less than an hour into NHL free agency, the Penguins were
reunited with an old friend.
Four years after he signed with the Los Angeles Kings weeks
after helping the Penguins to their third Stanley Cup, Scuderi
signed a four-year, $13.5 million contract with Pittsburgh on
”When moving your family, the transition can be kind of odd and
awkward,” the 34-year-old defenseman said. ”I thought going to
Pittsburgh, the familiarity with the area would make for an easier
”And most important, the team is in a win-now mode.”
Later Friday, the Penguins announced the re-signing of another
player on the 2009 Cup-winning team, forward Craig Adams. Adams,
who has been with Pittsburgh since being claimed off waivers in
early 2009, signed a two-year extension with an average annual
value of $700,000.
Scuderi, who also won the 2012 Cup with Los Angeles, missed only
nine games over his four seasons with the Kings. The Penguins
advanced to the Stanley Cup final during Scuderi’s final two
seasons with the Penguins; since then they have won three playoff
series in four years. They were swept by the Boston Bruins in the
Eastern Conference finals last month.
Scuderi’s teams are 13-5 in playoff series with two Stanley
Cups, three appearances in the final and four conference finals
over the past seven years.
”Let’s face it, I’m a plug,” Scuderi said of his simple game.
”I play good defense, I’m going to move the puck tape-to-tape when
I can, and when I don’t have an opportunity to, I’m going to put
the puck in the safest areas. It’s not the prettiest thing in the
world, everyone knows that. But it can be effective.
”One of the reasons I felt comfortable coming back is that the
Penguins said that was what they were looking for. I want to make
sure I’m a good fit for what they need and that together we can do
some good things.”
Scuderi has seven goals and 79 assists in 585 career NHL games,
including one goal and 11 assists in 48 games last season. He had a
career bests in points (16) and plus-minus (+23) with the Penguins
in 2008-09 just before the Penguins let him walk in free
”There are some things that in my job you wish for a do-over
on, and this is one of them,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero
”At the time there wasn’t a chance we could financially, and I
said it at the time I was very happy for him and (wife) Courtney to
have that opportunity money-wise. He had never made it in his
career. It’s a great story, and that happens in the salary-cap
world – guys have to leave.”
A 1998 fifth-round pick of Pittsburgh’s, the Syosset, N.Y.,
native became a regular with the Penguins following the 2004-05
lockout. He was a reliable presence on the ice and popular in the
dressing room, but with the Penguins up against the salary cap he
was let go in July 2009, signing a four-year, $13.6 million deal
with Los Angeles.
His extended family remains in New York on Long Island, and
that’s where his wife’s family also resides. Scuderi said that was
no small factor in his decision to relocate back east. Other than
the Kings, Scuderi said he was only willing to consider signing
with Eastern Conference teams.
”To be able to play (the three New York City area-based) teams
consistently and with Pittsburgh being a seven-hour drive or a
one-hour flight as compared to a cross-country flight is something
that I missed over the last few years. I missed having them be part
of our lives and their grandkids’ lives.”
Scuderi has appeared in 515 of a possible 540 regular-season
games since the 2006-07 season, including the past 264 consecutive
regular-season contests. He hasn’t missed a game since Dec. 7,
2009, playing in every game of the past three seasons.
Adams has been just as durable in recent years, missing only two
games the past four seasons for Pittsburgh while playing a
versatile, fourth-line role. Adams, 36, can play center or wing and
is one of the Penguins’ top penalty killers. He has long been a
favorite of coach Dan Bylsma’s.
”He’s meant a lot to our team,” Shero said. ”He plays a big
part of our penalty kill and grit. On the fourth line he plays
center and wing.”
Adams had three goals and six assists this past season and has
totaled 49 goals and 93 assists in 799 games over a 12-year