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2013-14 Season in Review: Rob Scuderi

At look at just how bad things were this year when Scuderi was on the ice.

Jamie Sabau

Age: 35

Contract Status: Signed through 2016-17 at $3.375M per season

2013-14 Stats

GP TOI/game Goals Assists Points CF% CF% rel TOI% QoC Offensive Zone Start % PDO
53 18:55 0 4 4 43.9% -6.4% 28.7% 50.8% 99.1

Most Frequent D Partners

CF% GF% 5v5 Ice Time Together
Matt Niskanen 51.9% 73.7% 236:50
Kris Letang 43.5% 50% 198:39
Robert Bortuzzo 35.5% 25% 151:59

Scuderi played with very capable players during much of his time but managed to drag everyone down; all three of these defensemen had a higher CF% away from Scuderi. The only redeeming box in that chart is his GF% with Niskanen, but that's driven by some incredibly good fortune and not an innate talent to dramatically outscore the opposition. Perhaps most startling in all of this is how bad Scuderi looked with Kris Letang. Not only was he brought here to help Tanger find his way on the ice, but you have to be really, really bad to drag a good possession player like Letang all the way down to a 43% CF.

Imagine a tire fire, now think of something worse. Multiply that by two, then square it. Now multiply that by three. We're getting close.

Massively underwhelming. Terrible. Depressing. Awful. A literal boat anchor.

All of these words accurately describe how sane people should feel about Scuderi's first season back in Pittsburgh. His season this year was a disaster, not only in terms of his on-ice play, but in the constant reminder that his contract is awful and may not be tradeable. I wrote extensively about Scuderi's prior work with LA and why his acquisition this summer made no sense. The short of it is that Scuderi was never good when he was with the Kings; he was being hidden playing alongside elite talent like Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar. Had anyone dug into the numbers (even a little bit), they would have seen that Scuderi was being carried by everyone else. Bringing him into a situation where he wouldn't be masked by someone like Kopitar was a terrible idea.

And all of that came to fruition. As you can see in the numbers above, Scuderi contributed nothing offensively and was a black hole in terms of possession. Posting a 43% CF despite a 50% offensive zone start percentage can only be done by players who are genuinely bad. Goals tell a similar story: Scuderi had a GF% of 43.8%, which was one of the worst marks on the team. He was out-possessed--and out-scored--while he was on the ice. Some might say that Scuderi was a solid contributor on the penalty kill, but that's a lie. This year, among Penguins who regularly saw time on the PK, Scuderi gave up the most shot attempts against per 60 minutes of play. And that translated into having the worst GA/60 on the PK among all Penguins who take regular shifts while down a man.

The only silver lining for some folks is the hope that Scuderi was hampered by his injury this year and can come back stronger next year when he's fully healthy. But there's no basis to believe this is true. As mentioned above, Scuderi was a boat anchor in Los Angeles despite being younger than he is now and free of any ankle injuries. Moreover, Adam Gretz compiled a list of all defensemen in the past 20 years who (a) played at least 50 games and (b) scored ten or fewer points when they were 35 years old. How often they played after that season is telling:

Guys like Scuderi aren't built to last, especially in today's NHL. He's only going to get worse, and the sooner Penguins management accepts that, the sooner they can figure out how to efficiently get rid of him.

GIF of the Year


Scuderi was brought here for his solid play in the playoffs.

Preseason Expectations

After Letang came off a troublesome playoff campaign in 2013, some folks thought he needed a partner who could settle him down and help him regain his form. Scuderi seemed to be the man Shero had in mind. He was coming back to the Penguins with quite the resume too. He had won two Cups in the last four years playing top-4 minutes on each team during their respective run. Given Scuderi's style of play and the number of rings he owned, many thought he'd be a steady influence on the team's blueline. This would be especially true in the playoffs (the story goes) because Scuderi's low-event and defensively-focused style of play supposedly meshed well with the brand of hockey in the playoffs that is faster and more intense than the regular season. And given the money the team invested in Scuderi, they were expecting superior performance.


I won't belabor this anymore because by now you know how I feel. Scuderi was awful this year despite not even getting the toughest minutes among Penguins dmen. The upshot is that the Penguins need to trade him or buy him out. If they buy him out, the most they'll pay in any given year is $1.9M in 2016-17. Given that the cap is going up, and that a player of equivalent value to Scuderi is only worth about $700K, it's still better to eat the cap penalty and pay a guy $700K than pay Scuds $3.4M in 2016.

In summary: get him off the team.