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Penguins bring back Scuderi … and chase out who?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Penguins have brought back beloved defenseman Rob Scuderi — and beloved might be understating it — through free agency on a four-year, $13.5 million deal.

Here’s the Trib’s news coverage, by Rob Rossi.

Here’s Scuderi’s official page on NHL.com.

I’ll encourage your thoughts on what surely will be their top signing of the offseason in the comments below, but I’ll start off with a couple of my own …

>> Scuderi’s worth the money, even at age 34. The guy’s really, really good at what he does, so defensively sound and consistent, and that became even clearer after he left and helped the Kings to a Stanley Cup in the same way he helped the Penguins to theirs in 2009. He didn’t call himself — playfully — “The Piece” for nothing.

>> His style is built on steadiness and smarts, and those tend to last longer in the NHL than, say, speed or offensive skill. No questioning the value and, further, no questioning the affordability considering the Ray Shero mostly wrapped up the other players he felt he needed to keep.

>> The obvious placement for Scuderi is alongside Kris Letang, thus keeping Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik together. I’m fine with that, too, in isolation.

>> But team sports don’t operate in isolation, and Simon Despres again is left out of the top four, even after Shero and Dan Bylsma pronounced his belonging there next season. Todd Reirden can get creative, or Despres can find extra usage on the power play or through penalty-killing. Bottom line: Kid needs to play.

>> All of that goes just the same for blocking the likes of Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot and all the other defense prospects. Just can’t happen. Team needs to get younger.

>> Here’s guessing you’ve seen the last of Matt Niskanen, now officially trade bait.

>> Anyone know that Hal Gill just cleared waivers, too?

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

 
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