Thursday, August 30, 2018

Building the 2018-19 Buffalo Sabres roster--LHD, Marco Scandella

Published by, 8-29-2013

Marco Scandella
28 yrs. old
6'3" 208 lbs.
2008, 2nd round (55th-overall, MIN)
Acquired in a trade with Minnesota June 30, 2017

Career Stats:  455 games |  32 goals |  79 assists |  111 points | -25

When defenseman Marco Scandella landed in Buffalo he was leaving a stable Minnesota Wild team that had been to the playoffs five consecutive seasons. Scandella had played in a top-four role for the Wild and despite seeing decreased ice time (and a decrease in production) in 2016-17 under a new head coach, when it came to the playoffs he carried a heavy load. His ice-time went from 20:42 during the regular season to just under 23 minutes in the playoffs, which was second only to Ryan Suter.

New Sabres GM Jason Botterill, anxious to upgrade a defense that was one of the worst in the league, brought in the 27 yr. old as a d-partner for Rasmus Ristolainen and Scandella entered the season with a new role and plenty of excitement. After his first practice with the club Scandella was all smiles calling the first day "great day" and saying that it's "exciting with a young, talented group, a new coach and we're ready to Rock 'n Roll right now."

Unfortunately that upbeat outlook soon got hammered into the ice leaving Scandella and the Sabres singing the blues.

To say it was a rude awakening for Buffalo and new head coach Phil Housley would be an understatement as the honeymoon lasted all of three games as the Sabres got bludgeoned twice after playing a solid season opener. Through it all, however, Scandella was able to hold his own but it was quiet evident early on that the depth chart was out of whack a bit with a number of players playing in roles that were above their pay grade.

The struggles of the team weighed on Scandella as well with the 6'3" 208 lb. Montreal, Quebec native also having difficulties keeping up with the top-end talent he faced on a nightly basis. Scandella has a lot of great attributes which includes being an excellent skater for a man his size. He has a good shot, sees the ice well and doesn't mind the rough stuff. After watching him for a full season in Buffalo, it looks as if he was in the proper top-four regular season role in Minnesota with an uptick in responsibility during a more rugged post season.

When the Sabres won the draft lottery and the rights to select franchise defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Scandella's future was pretty much sealed. Although Dahlin can easily play either side on the blueline, it looks as if he'll start out on the left side and from what we've gathered this off season, the coaching staff may shelter the 18 yr. old by giving him second-pairing minutes to start the season. In that scenario Scandella will eventually move back to his top-four role while also continuing to anchor the Sabres penalty kill. And that's the thing with Dahlin eventually taking over that No. 1 role, the rest of the defense can fall into place.

Scandella is a true pro. He doesn't say much off the ice but says a lot with how he approaches the game and how he plays it on the ice. He's got size and skill, can skate, defend and score a bit as well. And when you see him and Ristolainen hitting the HarborCenter ice as some of the earliest players to skate in preparation for the upcoming season, you see a quiet leadership that positively influences the youngins, which includes a superstar in the making in Dahlin. Buffalo is lucky to have him at this point in his career.

Building the 2018-19 Buffalo Sabres roster:

LW, Conor Sheary / C, Jack Eichel / RW, Sam Reinhart

LHD, Marco Scandella /

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