The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Rob Scuderi to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, the team announced Friday. The Hawks will retain 50 percent of Scuderi's salary and the Kings will retain 15 percent of Ehrhoff's, per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
Both players recently cleared waivers and now will see changes of scenery as part of a swap between Western Conference contenders. While the move doesn't provide the Hawks will major savings next season due to the salary retention, it's still a short-term upgrade given Scuderi stood little chance of playing for the team again.
Ehrhoff, 33, has recorded 10 points in 40 games with the Kings this season. Injuries have taken their toll on the veteran, but he could still be useful as a puck-mover for the Hawks on the blue line. At the very least, there's little doubt that Ehrhoff will be an upgrade on Scuderi, who couldn't crack the Hawks' lineup.
Scuderi was acquired by the Blackhawks in December from the Penguins in exchange for defenseman Trevor Daley. The 37-year-old struggled during his brief time in Chicago and got waived by the team earlier in February. Since clearing waivers, Scuderi has been playing for the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.
An old-school, puck-blocking defenseman on the downside of his career, Scuderi was clearly added by Chicago as part of a cap maneuver. Pittsburgh retained 33 percent of his cap hit in the trade, leaving the Hawks on the hook for the remaining $2.25 millon on Scuderi's deal, which runs through next season. While buried in Rockford, his charge against the Hawks' cap was $1.3 million.
In 17 games with Chicago, Scuderi failed to record a point. He's regularly been one of the worst possession players in the NHL and that was no different during his time with the Hawks, even with a liberal dose of offensive zone starts. Now he's on the Kings.
By retaining 50 percent of Scuderi's salary, the Hawks will still have a $1.125 million cap hit on the books for him through next season. Ehrhoff has a $1.5 million cap hit on his expiring contract, so he'll cost $1.275 million against the cap for Chicago with LA retaining 15 percent.
It's not quite the obvious steal it would seem at first glance because the Hawks only saved a relatively small amount compared to what they had on the books by burying Scuderi in Rockford, but by adding Ehrhoff to the defensive corps this season, it still looks like a nudge in the right direction.