Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Defenseman Rob Scuderi On Waivers

By Colin Likas
Dec 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Rob Scuderi (47) passes the puck during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Rob Scuderi (47) passes the puck during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Another piece of the Patrick Sharp trade will no longer be part of the Chicago Blackhawks, as the team announced this morning that defenseman Rob Scuderi had been placed on waivers. Scuderi wasn’t acquired directly in the Sharp deal this offseason, but he was eventually given to the Blackhawks for Trevor Daley, who was acquired in the deal with Dallas for Sharp.

Scuderi was basically a slower version of Michal Rozsival, which is really saying something. With Viktor Svedberg‘s recent promotion to the Blackhawks, Scuderi and his no points in 17 games became easy to dump. The Blackhawks will roll with the blue-line unit of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson, Svedberg and Rozsival for the time being, but there could be more on this front soon.

What this move really does is free up cap space for the Blackhawks. According to General Fanager, if Scuderi is claimed within 24 hours of being placed on waivers, the Blackhawks will open up cap space of $5.6 million. And even if Scuderi clears waivers and is assigned to the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks will obtain a total of $3.9 million in cap space. AKA, there could be a trade or two on the horizon.

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I still think defense is the biggest need for the Blackhawks, as only Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Rozsival have legitimate NHL stretch-run and playoff experience. And considering Joel Quenneville probably won’t want to run Rozsival 20-plus minutes a night later in the season, it’d be best to acquire a No. 4/5 defenseman who can knowingly handle stretch-run and playoff-style hockey in the NHL. That’s nothing against TVR, Gustafsson and Svedberg, but different players react differently to higher-intensity hockey. The Blackhawks would be doing themselves a major disservice by not looking to bolster their blue line before the trade deadline at month’s end.

What the Blackhawks may also look for is a top-line left wing. While Andrew Shaw has shown flashes of promise in the spot, he’s more suited for a grinding wing role on the bottom six. Right at Scuderi’s ousting, Twitter immediately brought up the idea of exiled Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin coming to Chicago. While I suppose that’s always a possibility, we have to remember that Drouin is a high-end talent, no matter how many problems the Lightning have had with him. The Blackhawks will have to pay out the nose to obtain him, and what they pay could end up being costly later. Of course, Drouin is also a high-end talent, and he could be a top-line wing for the Blackhawks for years to come if a deal was made for him. Two sides to every coin.

But for now, Scuderi’s absence does nothing to hurt the Blackhawks, and ultimately suggests there is a move or two for Stan Bowman to make. We could see something happen before the week is up. And, depending on what those moves might be (assuming there are moves), those could be what the Sharp offseason trade is ultimately remembered for. Daley and Ryan Garbutt didn’t work out in Chicago, nor did Scuderi. Jiri Sekac, who was acquired for Garbutt, doesn’t appear to be a big-time piece moving forward, but the jury is still out.

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All in all, if the Blackhawks wind up with a No. 4/5 defenseman and/or a new left wing in the future, and success comes from those moves, the Sharp deal may not feel like so much of a bust.

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