Canadiens Acquire Scandella

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020, the team announced Thursday. This comes less than an hour after the team also traded Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and Andrew Sturtz.

The 29-year-old Scandella is in the final year of a five-year contract that carries a $4 million cap hit which he originally signed in 2014 as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

In 31 games this season, Scandella has scored three goals and nine points while averaging 16:36 of ice time, the fewest minutes he’s played dating back to the 2012-13 season in which he played just six games.

On paper, this trade makes a lot of sense for both teams.

Canadiens Filling Defensive Need

For the Canadiens, the prospect of acquiring the left-shot defender they’ve been looking for to slot inside their top-four made too much sense for the value here.

A native of Montreal, Scandella should immediately assume a big role in the Canadiens’ lineup as the team looks to find consistency on their back-end as they make a push towards the postseason. At the time of the trade, the Canadiens are also only responsible for just a hair over $2 million of Scandella’s contract against their salary cap which is also appealing for the immediate future.

Marco Scandella Buffalo Sabres
Marco Scandella, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Above all else, the Canadiens and general manager Marc Bergevin were rewarded for taking a patient approach to this trade as they were able to fill a need for the modest cost of a fourth-round selection.

If Scandella doesn’t work out, the Canadiens can move on without having taken much of a hit against their cap or as far as their asset cupboard is concerned. If Scandella does fit the role the team has planned out for him, then this deal could go down as a very strong one for Bergevin, especially if the team can sign him to an extension.

Sabres Shedding Salary, Adding Forward

For the Sabres, this deal also makes sense despite the low value acquired for Scandella.

On paper, losing one of the top defenders on a team and only acquiring a fourth-round pick in return seems to be bad asset management. While that may be true, the Sabres have been looking to shed salary with other moves in mind.

Michael Frolik Calgary Flames
Michael Frolik, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It wouldn’t take them long to pull the trigger on a secondary move either as they’d acquire Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames shortly after trading Scandella. The return for Frolik was the exact pick they acquired from the Canadiens for Scandella.

With the trade deadline less than two months away, teams will start to shuffle pieces and make moves in an attempt to bolster their roster either for the present or the future. This is an example of that for both the Sabres and the Canadiens who benefitted from making these moves before the wave of other highly-touted assets set the tone for the market.

The Canadiens, as mentioned, also moved on from Reilly earlier in the day, acquiring Sturtz and a fifth-round pick from the Senators in the process.