The Minnesota Wild traded defenseman Marco Scandella, winger Jason Pominville and a 4th round pick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for wingers Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, and a 3rd round pick.
Why Minnesota made the move:
- Perhaps the biggest asset the Wild received is cap space. If we assume Foligno re-signs for ~$2.25 million, which is what he made last season, the Wild will have traded $9.6 million for $6.85M. That $2.75M difference is a lot, especially for a contending team that still needs to re-sign key players like Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter.
- Ennis has just 24 points in 74 games over the last couple years but the Wild probably feel he can rebound in Minnesota. He’s produced at a bottom-6 rate during 5v5 play for five consecutive seasons, though, so I wouldn’t bet on a big breakthrough for the 27-year-old.
- The Wild finished 2nd in the NHL in goals last season and, though I don’t agree with the logic, probably felt like they have enough scoring and would benefit more from the physical element Foligno brings to the table.
- Yeah, there really isn’t a lot I can do to justify this trade.
Why Buffalo made the move:
- The Sabres’ defense has been a wasteland for years now. They helped address that when they acquired Nathan Beaulieu from Montreal and continued to do so with the addition of Scandella.
- In Scandella, they get a responsible defenseman who can eat up some minutes, move the puck, and even chip in a little bit offensively. Over the last two seasons, Scandella has averaged .71 points per 60 minutes of 5v5 play. That ranks him ahead of Noah Hanifin, Alex Edler, Josh Morrissey, Rasmus Ristolainen and Drew Doughty, among others. He is by no means a prolific offensive guy but he’ll pick up some points at full-strength.
- Over the same two-year time frame, Scandella was Minnesota’s best shot suppressing defenseman on the penalty kill. He’ll help a Sabres’ PK unit that needs a lot of it.
- Pominville probably makes more money than he’s worth but is still a very effective offensive player. Pominville has 60 5v5 points over the last two years, which ties him with Nathan MacKinnon, Jason Spezza, Marcus Johansson, Jakob Silfverberg, Henrik Sedin and Granlund. He creates offense, and he was a fan favorite in Buffalo for a lot of years, so he’s a nice piece to get back for the Sabres.
I think the Sabres won this trade. It’s fair to say they acquired the best two players in the deal and taking on $2.75 million in salary, let’s say, is a small price to pay to upgrade up front and on defense.
Written by Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)