Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Impressions of, and questions concerning--D, Marco Scandella

Published by, 4-24-2018

Defensman--Marco Scandella
DOB:  February 23, 1990 (age (28)
Draft:  2008, 2nd round (25th overall) MIN
How acquired: 
Trade with Minnesota, June 30, 2017
Last contract signed:  November 29, 2014, 5yr./$20 million
Final year of contract:  2019-20

2017-18- Stats:  82 games played |  5 goals | 17 assists | 22 points | -15 | 23:19 ATOI
Buffalo Career Stats:  82 games | 5 goals | 17 assists | 22 points | -15 | 23:19 ATOI

What we wrote preseason: Said GM Jason Botterill of trading for Marco Scandella (via Jourdan LaBarber of "It was a priority for us to try to find another guy that can play some heavy minutes. We think [he] did a little bit of that in Minnesota, but he was certainly surrounded by some good defensemen and I think now playing a bigger role here (in Buffalo,) he's ready to take the next step in his career."

Head coach Phil Housley, who had seen plenty of Scandella while an assistant with the Nashville Predators, called him a  "terrific player" and a "fierce competitor" and that the 27 yr. old was "a key element" the team added. "It'll be interesting to see how much his offensive numbers really increase," he continued. "Whether he gets the assists or not, he's going to start our transition game out of our own end and in the neutral zone and then with his size and his compete down low, his reach, we really think he's going to be able to log a lot of minutes on our PK and be able to play against other teams' top two lines."

Although he had a rough regular season, Scandella turned it on in the playoffs averaging nearly 23 minutes of ice-time in the five-game series vs. the St. Louis Blues. That number was second only to top defenseman Ryan Suter.

What we wrote mid-season:  Botterill acquired Scandella in a trade with the Minnesota Wild this past off season saying that he believed the big, 6'3" 208 lb. defenseman could transition from second-pairing in Minnesota to top-pairing in Buffalo. He's in that role now and although he's had his good moments, that top-pairing designation looks to be a stretch. Speed is a problem for him, not so much his own, which is pretty good for a man his size, but the speed of the game playing against top players. In an ideal world he'd be on the second pair in Buffalo, but as we've seen, it's been anything but ideal with the club this year. The 28 yr. old Scandella is under contract until 2019-20 with a reasonable $4 million cap-hit.

Impressions on his play this year:  To say it was a struggle for the team and Scandella would be an understatement. We all know the numbers and the general feel in Buffalo while watching this club might have been worse. Scandella, however, seemed to pick things up later in the season and at one point in February found himself paired with an up-and-coming Casey Nelson as a d-partner. The six-game stint yielding 3-2-1 stretch for the Sabres. We know what the eight-year veteran has to offer, and we're pretty sure right now that ideally he's a top-notch second-pairing d-man who can log big minutes in all situations.

Questions moving forward:  What pick do the Sabres end up with in the upcoming draft? If they miss out on defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, are the Sabres forging ahead with a Rasmus Ristolainen-Scandella top-pairing? Will the Sabres re-sign Nelson? Will the 28 yr. old Scandella become more of a vocal leader than he was both on and off the ice?

Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via and hockey

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