Rob Scuderi to be Bought Out by the Penguins This Summer?


Another postseason of little success will mean more offseason changes for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

General Manager Jim Rutherford discussed the team’s mindset heading into the offseason recently, indicating he aims to add another elite winger to complement the Pens’ top-six, and aims to do so via trade rather than through the free agent market.

Regardless of what Rutherford does to bolster the forward corps, he’ll first have to shed some salary as the Penguins’ poor cap management resulted in numerous games played this season with only five defensemen after injuries sidelined many of the team’s starters.

Rutherford did not shy away from questions regarding the possibility of using buyouts, indicating all options are on the table for the management team, and that Pittsburgh’s ownership group has given the GM clearance to use the buyouts where he sees fit.

The most likely candidate for a buyout will clearly be veteran defender Rob Scuderi, whose play this season suggested he is no longer a fit with the Pens’ young blue line – which looks set to get even younger next season.

Scuderi is owed a whopping $3.375 million per season until 2017 – a fairly stunning total considering he not only didn’t look worth his dollar amount come playoff time, but in fact often seemed to be a liability.

Early on in the season, the veteran seemed to be regaining his footing, playing a reliable shutdown game and mentoring the young Simon Despres.

After Despres was traded to the Anaheim Ducks, however, Scuderi’s role became less clear and his play dropped off sharply as well.

The most pressing factor in the case of Scuderi, however, is simply the fact that the Pens organization already houses cheaper, and arguably more reliable options. When the team gets healthy next season, there will simply be no place for the veteran in the lineup – especially not at the price he’s owed.

Kris Letang will reclaim his place on the first pairing. If Paul Martin is brought back, he’ll skate alongside him.

Young Olli Maatta will return as well, as will Derrick Pouliot.

Considering how well he performed in his short time in Pittsburgh, there’s a good chance Ian Cole is brought back by the Pens manager as well.

Ben Lovejoy, brought to town in the deal that sent Despres to the Ducks, also remains under contract next season.

Those six names look set to comprise the Pens’ starting defensive unit.

Past that, however, remain some solid options in Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, and Taylor Chorney.

Thus, Scuderi looks set to be the odd man out, and the Penguins will surely look to re-allocate his salary towards the effort to bring in a talented forward to bolster the secondary scoring.

At 36 years old, such a buyout could in fact signal the end of the veteran defender’s career – one that has netted him two Stanley Cups with the Penguins (2009) and Los Angeles Kings (2012).

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