Kris Versteeg, Rob Scuderi take on major roles with Kings

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Rob Scuderi shoves Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg during a game on March 5. (AP Photo)

The Los Angeles Kings have put a couple of Blackhawks castoffs into major roles for their stretch run as they battle the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division title. Kris Versteeg, acquired from Carolina at the deadline, is on the Kings’ top line. And Rob Scuderi, whom the Hawks sent to Los Angeles for Christian Ehrhoff, is on the top defensive pairing, playing nearly 20 minutes a night alongside perennial Norris Trophy candidate Drew Doughty.

The 37-year-old Scuderi won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012, but was ill-suited to the Hawks’ style of play. He was demoted to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs before being traded.

“It’s a good fit for Scuds getting back there,” Hawks coach Joel Quenenville said. “I know he and [Doughty] had a good rapport in the pas. Getting reunited, he’s taken off with it. It’s been healthy and good for him, as well. We didn’t like the fact that he was down [in Rockford]. To see him back, good for him.” 

Ehrhoff, who was scratched for Monday’s game, said the two teams have a similar winning culture. He wasn’t asked to spill any state secrets, however.

“I think the coaching staff here is good enough to figure it out themselves,” Ehrhoff said. “And they’ve played L.A. enough over the last two years to know what works and what doesn’t.”

Versteeg had no points and just three shots on goal in his first five games with the Kings.

Almost there

For the first time Monday morning, the Hawks had every player on their roster on the ice at the same time, as Marcus Kruger joined a full morning skate. Kruger’s still about two weeks away from playing, but the Hawks are among the fortunate few in the league to have a healthy roster this late in the season.

“It’s probably the first time all year that’s happened,” Quenneville said. “Obviously, depth is very important for us, and getting some options is going to be beneficial as we go into a critical stretch run.”

Roster report

Michal Rozsival returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game in Dallas with a lower-body injury.

Minor-league defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who has two goals and two assists in 19 games with the Hawks this season, signed a two-year contract extension. It’s a one-way deal worth a reported $750,000 a year.


Twitter: @marklazerus

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