Penguins notebook: Scuderi traded to Blackhawks for Daley
Initially listed as a part of the Penguins’ third defensive pairing, Rob Scuderi became a last-minute healthy scratch with the Penguins on Monday night, and the reason behind his unavailability made sense two hours later.
The Penguins announced they traded the 36-year-old defenseman to Chicago for defenseman Trevor Daley during the third period of their game against Washington. Scuderi, who went through warm-ups, and Daley comprised the first trade this season to strictly involve NHL players.
“When I got the news, I was actually watching the Pittsburgh game, so it was kind of ironic how it happened,” Daley said. “Pretty excited. Chicago was a great place. … I just wish I got maybe a little more of an opportunity (to play). Other than that, I’m excited for the opportunity in Pittsburgh.”
Daley, 32, who shoots left-handed, finished with career highs in goals (16) and assists (22) with Dallas last season, his 11th in the league. He has no goals and six assists in 29 games this season, and he joins the Penguins just as new coach Mike Sullivan has adjusted breakout schemes and emphasized quicker defense-to-offense transitions.
“I don’t know him real well, but what I know of him is that he’s a mobile defenseman,” Sullivan said. “Certainly I think that he’s a guy that can help us as far as moving the puck out of our end zone, try to help us keep the puck, and then create some offense off the rush.
“I think mobility as a group of defensemen is really helpful and advantageous as far as getting back to pucks quickly and helping our team get out of our end zone a little bit cleaner and a little more often.”
Said Daley: “That’s kind of what the game is turning into. If you watch Chicago play, the ‘D’ are very mobile, and they want the ‘D’ up as part of the play. I think most of the teams are going in that trend. I’m excited to come in and help out.”
He comes with a $3.3 million salary cap hit. Scuderi’s cap hit was $3.375 million, though the Penguins will continue to pay $1.125 million of that this season and the next, general manager Jim Rutherford said.
Trade considerations for Scuderi entered Rutherford’s mind in the run-up to training camp, when he pondered ways to open cap space. Talks of acquiring Daley began about a month ago, Rutherford said, but they only became serious in the past few days.
“It didn’t have anything to do with the coaching change,” said Rutherford, who plans to hold off on further trade possibilities for a bit. “I’d like to give Mike a little time with this group, see how it settles in. Then we’ll take a look at it. One of the things about making a move and the coaching change, making it when we did, it gives us enough time to make other adjustments, if necessary. I don’t think we need to. I think our team is pretty good. But we’ve got to get a few breaks around the net.”
Scuderi had four assists in 25 games this season.
Sullivan alters assistants’ roles
Neither Sullivan nor his players see wisdom in implementing sweeping changes to the Penguins’ on-ice strategies in the first 48 hours of the new coach’s tenure. Just one substantive practice and a morning skate before Monday’s game provided Sullivan little insight into player chemistry and skills.
Sullivan wasted no time shifting roles for the men behind the team bench. On-ice changes might soon follow.
After Monday’s morning skate, Sullivan announced he will run the heavily scrutinized power play, a job that previously belonged to assistant Rick Tocchet, who will work with forwards and handle five-on-five pre-scouting, and assistant Jacques Martin will run the penalty kill.
“I met (Martin) this summer at the draft when I was there as the Wilkes-Barre coach,” Sullivan said. “Obviously have a ton of respect for what he’s accomplished in the game. He’s worn a lot of hats and he’s got a wealth of experience. ‘Tocch,’ I’ve known for a while. I played with ‘Tocch.’ I coached with ‘Tocch’ down in Tampa.”
The Penguins power-play unit ranked 27th in the league in conversions (15.63 percent) through Sunday. Their penalty kill ranked fifth (15.79 percent).
Dupuis’ new direction?
After spending the weekend with his family, Pascal Dupuis returned to Consol Energy Center on Monday for the first time since announcing his decision to retire because of a blood clot condition.
“It was easier than I thought it’d be, just because it feels right,” Dupuis said of seeing his family after making the announcement in Colorado.
He wants a few more days to settle into post-player life before he figures out what’s next.
When the time is right for Dupuis, Rutherford wants to move the former winger into a position with the team that uses his connections with current players.
“Dupuis can be an important part of this,” Rutherford said. “I want to put him in the right role.”