Adam Gretz over at CBSSports.com recently wrote about possible buyout candiates around the league, and included among the riff-raff was the Pittsburgh Penguins very own Rob Scuderi. Seeing Scuderi on such a list is unsurprising, but with General Manager Jim Rutherford declaring, “No, we don’t have any plans to buy guys out,” it looks like something that is not going to happen.
It should though.
Back in May, I included a Scuderi buyout in my State of the Penguins series.
Rob Scuderi (2 yrs, 3.375mil per)
1-9-10, 82 Games
I am not a fan of Rob Scuderi. I was not a fan of him when he was with the Pens the first time around and I’m not a fan of his contract this time around. That said, he was a monster on the penalty kill. I firmly believe there are better, younger, cheaper options available and it’s time to move forward.
My Verdict: Buyout
Gretz’s argument is convincing, showing the cap savings that a buyout would provide as well as how the move would fit in well with the team’s youth movement. While both are important points, I believe the latter is more important than the former.
The Penguins have made it known that they are going with a “youth movement” on defense by stating that they will not be bringing back Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff. This $9 million in salary cap savings is going to go a long way towards reconfiguring the offensive lineup. Relying on superstar Kris Letang, future all-star Olli Maatta, and a plethora of young talent with names like Pouliot and Harrington; the Pens are well positioned to cut the cord on the Scuderi contract.
While the money savings is nice (from a business standpoint), the true value in buying out Scuderi is that he will no longer be taking a roster spot away from the future.
Ask Pens fans what they think about Scuderi and the general consensus is not positive.
@LCJS Buy Out
— Joe (@joerock9) June 22, 2015
— Cat Lover (@cats240000) June 22, 2015
@LCJS We paid him HOW much?
— Christopher Higgins (@DatGuyHiggins) June 22, 2015
This reaction is understandable.
The Penguins have until the end of the month to decide how they are going to proceed. It’s still possible for the team to decide that the benefits of buying out Scuderi outweigh keeping him and paying him.
Known as “The Piece,” it was once thought that he was a necessary part of winning Stanley Cups. At this point in his career, it would be better to go with a player like him, younger and cheaper, and save some cap space as well.
RELATED: View what a Scuderi buyout looks like over at War-on-Ice.com
Lee is a contributor here at The Hockey Writers as well as at Pens Initiative. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he worked an internship at VH1 Radio in NYC and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Penn State – New Kensington campus student newspaper, The Nittany Pride. You can visit Lee’s website here: leecjsobotka.com.