By Jay Zawaski–
(CBS) So, what was your favorite memory of the Trevor Daley era?
On Monday night, the Blackhawks announced they had traded defenseman Daley to the Pittsburgh Penguins for (very) veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi. The Penguins are also picking up one-third of the 36-year-old Scuderi’s $3.375-million contract. The Hawks were paying Daley $3.3 million, so this trade essentially frees up $1 million in cap space. Both defensemen are signed through next season.
What do the Hawks acquire in Scuderi? Think a left-handed Michal Rozsival. At his best, Scuderi’s a steady defender who can block shots. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his speed or dazzle anyone with his play, but he will be a bit less of a trainwreck defensively than Daley. On the flip side, Scuderi won’t contribute much, if anything at all, offensively.
This deal has coach Joel Quenneville’s fingerprints all over it. Daley was never a fit in Chicago, and Quenneville knew it. The Hawks have been looking to move him since October. The fact that they could only get Scuderi back should show you how much the Hawks didn’t like Daley.
So, did the Blackhawks get better? I’m going to say no, at least at the moment.
Daley did struggle mightily but at least had some potential offensively. He scored 16 goals last season and has speed and puck-moving ability. Scuderi doesn’t bring much potential for anything.
If the extra $1 million in cap space allows the Hawks to recall defenseman Erik Gustafsson or make another deal down the road, I may reconsider my position. I’m told no other transactions are imminent, so for the time being, this is your Blackhawks roster.
Maybe Scuderi will have a career resurgence here in Chicago, but it’s tough to imagine it getting easier on him in the league’s best division.
The Hawks aren’t a better team tonight than they were this morning, but as I’ve said before, don’t judge this group until the trade deadline has passed. General manager Stan Bowman has shown the ability to work some cap magic. With three Stanley Cups under his belt, I’m willing to let this one play out.
Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score and the Blackhawks columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JayZawaski670.