The Buffalo Sabres have traded defenseman Marco Scandella to the Montreal Canadiens. The 29-year-old defender has been acquired in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. The Canadiens announced the move early Thursday evening.
The Canadiens have acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres, in return for a fourth-round pick in 2020 (acquired from the San Jose Sharks on June 22, 2019).#GoHabsGo https://t.co/uJEKDoyayl
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) January 2, 2020
Marco Scandella Traded to Montreal
Scandella has scored three goals and nine points in 31 games in 2019-20. He also has 38 hits and 34 blocks. His numbers do not leap off the page but he has excellent possession numbers and is a strong puck-mover. His 52.8 Corsi For was best among all Buffalo defenders and second only to Kyle Okposo. Scandella was a solid member of a Sabres defence core that is much-improved compared to 2018-19.
The former Sabre and Minnesota Wild defender joins a Montreal squad looking for its own defensive resurgence. The Canadiens have several solid players on their blue line already but are clearly looking for a veteran upgrade to one of the current pairings. He could slide next to either Jeff Petry or Cale Fleury as a left-handed shot to their right-handedness. The Canadiens would then just need to move one of the less experienced defenders around to clear the spot. Scandella’s most likely replacement in Buffalo will either be Colin Miller or John Gilmour.
What This Means for the Future
Montreal is clearly trying to make a move in a crowded Atlantic Division playoff race. They are three points behind the Florida Panthers going into Thursday’s games. Scandella will help take some of the defensive pressure off other players and let them focus on scoring. Carey Price will surely appreciate Scandella’s defensive skills.
However, this trade could signal Buffalo turning into a selling team. They have already fallen behind Montreal into sixth in the Atlantic. Several of their other players could also be on the move soon. Both Zach Bogosian and Evan Rodrigues have requested trades in recent weeks. Do not be surprised if Scandella is just the first part of a busy winter for the Sabres front office.