No bitterness from Daley, Scuderi in first meeting since trade
Almost a month after joining the Penguins via a trade that sent Rob Scuderi to Chicago, Trevor Daley still isn't sure why his tenure with the Blackhawks, which consisted of 29 games, ended so quickly and included few highlights.
He hinted at a lack of ice time the day the deal happened, Dec. 14, but he eased back from that stance after a light morning skate at Consol Energy Center, hours before he played against the Blackhawks for the first time since his departure.
“I wish I had bad things to say about that team, but I don't,” Daley said. “I enjoyed my time there, and I learned a lot. I went in there with an open mind to figure out what these guys have been doing right all these years. I think I took a lot out of it for the short time I was there.”
Residual bitterness toward their former teams, certainly a possibility for the defensemen given the nature of the late-night trade in which they were exchanged, failed to materialize as they prepared to square off against players they called teammates just a few weeks ago. Daley is a prominent contributor with the Penguins, who have entrusted him with more ice time, including power-play opportunities, and encouraged him to embrace his offense-creating tendencies.
Scuderi, accepting of the fact he gets less ice time with Chicago, appreciates that his new team asks nothing more or different of him than what the Penguins expected.
“I'm not going to become something else overnight,” Scuderi said. “I'm still doing roughly the same role.”
The announcement of the trade Dec. 14, during the Penguins' loss to Washington in coach Mike Sullivan's debut, inspired intrigue and slight shock among fans. Daley, who had career highs in goals (16) and assists (22) in 2014-15 with Dallas, gave the Penguins a puck-moving defenseman general manager Jim Rutherford suggested the team needed just days earlier.
Scuderi passed on pondering the reasons the Penguins, who drafted him in 1998, again parted ways with him.
“It's like they say: Don't think, you'll only hurt the team,” Scuderi said. “It's just something that happens in the business, and you learn to move on.”
Daley embraced his new team and boosted the quality of players around him. The possession and pace-of-play metrics for Olli Maatta, Daley's most frequent partner on the blue line, are better than what Maatta had in 139 minutes of five-on-five ice time with Scuderi, according to Puckalytics.com.
Blackhawks defenseman Michal Roszival, who usually paired with Daley and now often skates beside Scuderi, made no effort to deny the differences between his current and former blue line partner.
“They're totally different players,” Roszival said. “I feel like playing with Trevor, I think I needed to be a little more defensive, just in the back of my mind, making sure there's always somebody back there. He's so fast, that even if I jumped into a play, he'd always outskate me up the ice. But yeah, it's a bit of adjustment, for sure.”
Roszival's possession metrics predictably dipped when he began pairing with Scuderi. But Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said advanced metrics insufficiently define Scuderi's value.
“He's a great player who I don't think gets the credit he deserves,” Lovejoy said. “He was a guy people gravitated towards. You wanted to have dinner with Rob. You wanted to be sitting next to him on the plane. You wanted to hang out with him in the locker room.”