The Buffalo Sabres have acquired forward Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the team announced Thursday. This move comes just minutes after the Sabres traded defender Marco Scandella to the Montreal Canadiens.
The 31-year-old Frolik has scored five goals and 10 points in 38 games so far this season and is in the final year of a five-year deal that carries a $4.3 million annual cap hit. With the Sabres acquiring Frolik on Thursday, his remaining cap hit should only cost the team just over $2.1 million for the remainder of the season.
Sabres Acquire Forward Depth
In Frolik, the Sabres are getting a consistent player who can provide depth-scoring and veteran leadership to their team.
Frolik has scored at least 10 goals in each of the last six seasons and is on pace to reach that mark again this season with the Sabres. He has also produced 30-plus points in five of his last six seasons, including 16 goals and 34 points last season.
Frolik should provide depth scoring for the Sabres as they look to make the postseason for the first time since the 2010-11 season. He also came at the modest price of a fourth-round pick, the very same pick the team acquired from the Canadiens just minutes prior to flipping it for Frolik.
In moving Scandella, the team is down one of their better defenders. Still, the Sabres appear to be in the market for even more acquisitions in the near future according to Darren Dreger.
Scandella was also averaging the fewest minutes of his Sabres’ career, skating in just 16:36 of ice time each game, down from 17:37 a season prior and 23:19 in his first year with the team.
With 24-year-old defender Lawrence Pilut knocking at the door and seemingly ready to make the jump to the NHL full-time, the Sabres are likely banking on the fact that he can replace Scandella’s minutes while the team looks to fill holes elsewhere on their roster.
Flames Moving on From Frolik
For the Flames, Frolik was averaging just 11:56 of ice time this season, his fifth with the team. This is a stark drop off from the 13:22 of ice time he was averaging last season and has replicated a steady-decline in minutes that he’s seen since the 2016-17 season, down from 17:05 of average ice time that season.
With a change of scenery, Frolik will look to score at a more consistent rate once again.
The Flames are having a relatively disappointing season and find themselves one point out of the third-place spot in the Pacific Division with two games-in-hand on the Vancouver Canucks.
Being outscored 127 to 114 on the year, the Flames are going to have to decide if they are buyers or sellers heading into the Trade Deadline, and this move seems to indicate the latter rather than the former.
There’s still time for the Flames to make other moves to add to their roster, especially given how close to a playoff spot they currently are. It seems unlikely after this Frolik trade, however, and this could be just the first domino to fall.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.