Player evaluation: Scuderi
This season: 82 games, 1 goal, 8 assists, minus-7 rating.
The good: Stay-at-home defensemen, by the nature and by the nature of the game, don’t attract a lot of attention, and even within that, Scuderi is undervalued. He’s an absolute rock, and the way his season ended couldn’t have been more appropriate. The Kings’ power play got the Game 6 glory for scoring three first-period goals, but it was Scuderi who drew that five-minute penalty, and it was Scuderi who returned at the start of the second period, his face a bloody mess, to finish the rest of the game. Scuderi has been a huge part of the Kings’ defensive success in the past couple years, and is one of the team’s top penalty-killers.
The bad: Scuderi’s game has essentially been unchanged for years. He’s not the fastest skater, so while he’s excellent positionally, he’s not the guy a team wants giving pursuit on a breakaway. Scuderi’s offensive skills are limited, as he has six goals in 537 regular-season games. The only other cause for concern is the potential for injury. Scuderi turns 34 this year, and in general that’s not old, but he has played a lot of extraordinarily tough minutes over the years. Scuderi, amazingly, has played all 82 games in each of the past two seasons, but will all of those big hits, and all of that body sacrifice, catch up with him at some point?
Going forward: Scuderi is entering the final year of his contract. It will be very interesting to see whether the Kings have interest in bringing him back for another year or two, or whether they will attempt to replace him. It won’t be easy. Scuderi is the ultimate team player and a very valuable defenseman. He plays big minutes, kills penalties, hardly ever takes penalties and generally serves as a great safety-net defenseman for a younger partner such as Drew Doughty. It’s easy to envision Scuderi being a coach down the road.