Coming into the summer, it looked like a long shot that the Los Angeles Kings would be able to retain unrestricted free agent Rob Scuderi. A bit strapped for cash, as they had to re-sign Slava Voynov and extend Dustin Brown, the Kings were also fighting to keep him on a thin free agent market, meaning the price would be higher.
In losing Scuderi, the Kings obviously lose a major part of their defensive corps. He’s a defensive defenseman, one of the better blue liners in his own end, and is capable of adding a few points throughout the year as well. That’s on top of being a veteran presence in a relatively young locker room.
However, while losing Scuderi will be rough initially, the Kings likely have enough depth that they can survive without him. They’ll miss that ability to step in and log big minutes, but at the same time, they have a healthier blue line than they did last year, as well as an emerging young talent in Voynov, who can shoulder the load.
This is a team that actually has one of the deeper defensive groups in the league. We all know about Voynov and Drew Doughty. Jake Muzzin is coming off of an excellent first full season. They added Robyn Regehr at the trade deadline and Jeff Schultz in free agency.
That’s in addition to a couple of guys being healthy for the upcoming season. Matt Greene came back towards the end of last year, while Willie Mitchell was forced to miss the entire campaign because of setbacks in his rehab from a knee injury. He should be ready to go this year, though.
Assuming that their group can remain healthy, the Kings will be just fine without Scuderi. He brought elements that any contending team would want in the mix, but with the talent and the depth that they have on their blue line, his loss likely won’t be felt for too long.