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Defenceman Rob Scuderi and the L.A. Kings agree to a four-year deal

LOS ANGELES - Rob Scuderi signed a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, leaving the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins without their top defensive pairing.

Scuderi, who teamed with Hal Gill to form a shutdown tandem on the blue line, led the Penguins with a plus-23 rating and had a career-high 16 points in 81 regular-season games. He also had a team-high 164 blocked shots.

He and Gill faced the challenge of holding down the opposition's biggest offensive threats, and they were good enough to help the Penguins win the Stanley Cup for the third time.

Gill left Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the opening day of the NHL's free-agent signing season, for a two-year, US$4.5-million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

In addition to his defensive prowess in the playoffs, Scuderi added a goal and four assists in 24 games while logging 20 1/2 minutes of ice time. He assisted on Max Talbot's Cup-winning goal in Game 7 of the finals against Detroit.

Scuderi spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins and has recorded three goals and 36 assists in 300 career NHL games. He has eight points in 49 postseason contests, all with the Penguins, including consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup finals.

The New York native was also invited this week to next month's U.S. Olympic hockey orientation camp in preparation for the Vancouver Games in February.

The Kings also re-signed restricted free agent Kevin Westgarth to a three-year contract on Thursday.

The 25-year-old right winger had no points and nine penalty minutes in nine games last season, his first in the NHL. He also spent time with the AHL's Manchester Monarchs.

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