Oct 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin (7) is congratulated at the bench after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Martin Or Rob Scuderi To Be Traded?

Rob Scuderi

Scuderi was signed last offseason to a four-year contract by former general manager Ray Shero. One year into the contract, the signing looks like a mistake. Scuderi was only able to play 53 games last season, and averaged only 17:45 minutes of ice-time.

All of the games he missed was due to a broken ankle he suffered early in the season, however, prior to the injury, he looked to be a reliable third-line defender, who was, perhaps, being asked to do too much. Age has caught up to Scuderi, but he is still under contract for the next three seasons.

Mar 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi (4) handles the puck against the Phoenix Coyotes during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Coyotes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Although there may have been rumors circulating that Scuderi is on the trade block, the Penguins aren’t actively shopping him. Yet, there are benefits trading and/or retaining Scuderi.

One of the biggest benefits of shipping Scuderi would be the massive amount of cap space it would free up. The Penguins organization has incredible defensive depth, and their young defenders need opportunities to make the jump to the NHL. Moving Scuderi would give another young defender a chance to earn a roster spot.

Replacing Scuderi with a young, hungry defenseman would also reduce the chance of injury. It is common knowledge that as players get older they tend to become more injury prone, and their play becomes less consistent.

Now, we cannot look at the benefits of trading Scuderi without looking at the positives of keeping him on the roster.

As I previously mentioned, his value is not totally gone, and still can be a serviceable third-pair defender. Having won the Stanley Cup twice in his career – once with the Penguins in 2009 and with the Kings in ’12 – Scuderi knows and understands how to win the important games, and this experience is needed on the Penguins.

Last season, he did suffer a broken ankle, and he could not have ever fully recovered. Given a full offseason to rest and rehab, we could see a much more mobile Scuderi next season. I think he at least deserves the chance to prove doubters wrong and show he can still play at a high level.

Given the provided analysis, the likelihood he remains with the team through the trade deadline is at about 50-percent.

Yet, if you wait until the start of next season, I think the chance he stays with the team drops to around 35-percent.

If Scuderi cannot prove he can play at a high level, look for the Penguins to try and trade him to any team regardless of the return on the trade. At that point, the team will just want to get rid of his contract and increase cap space.

Paul Martin

Another veteran defenseman who has been the subject of numerous trade rumors is Martin. Since being signed as an unrestricted free agent after the 2009-10 campaign to a five-year, $25 million contract – per CapGeek – Martin has reminded many fans of a roller coaster. At one point he was considered one of the worst defenseman on the roster, and it seemed almost certain he would be traded.

Now, here we are, rapidly approaching the 2014-15 season, and Martin is the unquestioned best defenseman on the roster. Unfortunately for the Penguins, he is in the last year of his contract, and has proven to be severely injury prone.

Similar to Scuderi, there is not one correct answer as for Martin’s future with the Penguins. Despite rumors that Martin does not want to re-sign just yet, there is a very real possibility that he plays out the entire season with the Penguins.

Assuming the gossip is true, and Martin does not wish to remain with the Penguins, the ideal time to trade him would be right at the trade deadline. He is coming off a strong playoff run, and has developed the reputation as being an outstanding defenseman. His trade value will probably never be as high as it is right now. His tendency to be injured only reinforces why the Penguins should move him before the deadline.

May 13, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin (7) handles the puck against the New York Rangers during the first period in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Like I previously stated, Martin is the best defenseman on the roster, and many will argue he is needed. While I presume he could get traded for a top-six forward, he is a valued leader and a steady defensive player. Martin has never been one to talk much, but instead he leads by example, and many of the young defenders in the system could learn a lot from him. Trading Martin also requires a high-level of trust in the young prospects.

Given Martin’s ability and leadership, there is probably a 50-percent chance he remains with the Penguins past the trade deadline.

While, if we accelerate to the start of the 2015-16 campaign, there is only around a 10-percent chance he is still with the team.

Although I think Martin would be a tremendously valuable asset for a run at the Stanley Cup, I don’t think he will make it that far.

If the Penguins decide to let Martin play out his contract and test free agency, he almost certainly will be moving on from the Penguins.

 

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