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Marco Scandella, Jason Pominville traded by Wild to Sabres

Minnesota receives forwards Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno from Buffalo

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres acquired defenseman Marco Scandella, right wing Jason Pominville and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft in a trade with the Minnesota Wild for forwards Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis, and a third-round pick in the 2018 draft on Friday.

"It was a situation where we wanted to make some adjustments to our defense corps," Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said. "We had a lot of discussions with Minnesota leading up to the [NHL] Expansion Draft and also in and around the [2017 NHL Draft]. Discussions continued on this week and we just sort of came to fruition with a deal. From our standpoint, we're very excited to bring Marco into our group. We think he has that two-way game, helping to improve our penalty kill with his reach and mobility, but also be a player that can contribute more offensively and lug larger minutes for us here."

 

[RELATED: Fantasy spin: Pominville deep sleeper after trade back to Sabres | NHL Trade Tracker]

 

Scandella, 27, had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and averaged 18:20 of ice time in 71 games this season, his seventh in the NHL, all with the Wild. He is the third defenseman added this offseason by the Sabres, who allowed an NHL-high 34.3 shots on goal per game this season. They acquired Nathan Beaulieu in a trade from the Montreal Canadiens on June 17 after signing Viktor Antipin to a one-year contract on May 25; Antipin played this season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

They'll join a group that includes Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges.

"As NHL general managers we're always looking for more; we're very greedy," Botterill said. "You always want to have more defense out there. Is our defense a finished product? Not at all, but it's a scenario where we like the style and some of the assets that these players can bring. We have veteran leadership back there, we have young players from a puck mobility standpoint. We have guys that can play a two-way game."

Video: MIN@TBL: Scandella taps home loose puck in front

Pominville, 34, was a second-round pick by the Sabres (No. 55) in the 2001 draft and had 456 points (185 goals, 271 assists) in 578 games with them before he was traded to the Wild on April 3, 2013. He was captain of the Sabres from the start of the 2011-12 season until he was traded.

"If there ever was going to be something that was going to happen, Buffalo was definitely a place that me and my family were hoping for," Pominville said. "I mean, my little guy already has his jersey on right now, so he's pumped and we're excited. … I love the direction the team is headed. I've had a chance to speak to Jason [Botterill] and [coach] Phil [Housley] already. I'm excited and glad to be a part of the team again for sure."

Pominville had 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) in 78 games this season. In five seasons with the Wild, he had 206 points (76 goals, 130 assists) in 327 games and helped them make the Stanley Cup Playoffs each season. The Sabres have not made the playoffs since 2010-11.

Video: OTT@MIN: Pominville tallies in 900th NHL game

"They've made a lot of changes; the team is basically completely different," Pominville said. "They've added some big pieces, and draft picks have already had success in the League, and I think they're going in the right direction and hopefully I can help that."

The trade provides significant NHL salary cap relief for the Wild; Scandella has a $4 million cap charge for three more seasons, and Pominville has a $5.6 million charge for two more seasons, according to CapFriendly.com. Ennis has two seasons remaining on a contract with an annual average value of $4.6 million. Foligno can be a restricted free agent July 1; he had a $2.25 million cap charge this season. The Wild also have to re-sign forwards Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund, who each can become a restricted free agent July 1.

"It's been a challenging summer," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "… We gave up two quality people, two good hockey players, and we acquired two really good hockey players that I think will help our club, and I think we checked a few boxes with the trade today and we created some valuable cap space and I think it allows us to move forward and make a couple more decisions this summer."

Ennis and Foligno head to Minnesota after playing their entire NHL career with Buffalo. At eight seasons, Ennis was the longest-tenured player on the roster. 

"They [Foligno and Ennis] certainly make us a better team up front," Fletcher said. "We lost some valuable forwards this summer. We've been chasing Marcus Foligno (6-foot-3, 228 pounds) for a couple seasons now and it's a tough commodity to acquire that big, strong forward, and you look around the League and there's very few players that have that size and physical presence that can contribute offensively. He's a player we think we need and I believe there's been times the past few years where we probably haven't been big enough and physical enough to get through certain parts of the season or even through playoff series. Marcus is a guy that has good hands and can contribute offensively and obviously brings that size and physical element that I think we really need."

Foligno scored an NHL career-high 13 goals this season.

"Obviously there's a lot of great players on Minnesota, so to play with those guys and get some more offensive mobility out there, just to play a big-body game and help out my linemates, that's what I'm expected to do in Minnesota," Foligno said. "Now being 25 years old, I know what's expected of me and as a player in this league I'm looking to add on to that next season."

Ennis, 27, has three seasons of at least 20 goals and more than 40 points, most recently in 2014-15. But he's coming off back-to-back seasons when injuries (two concussions in 2015-16, double groin surgery in 2016-17) hampered him and his production. He had 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 51 games this season.

"I'm excited to get a fresh start," Ennis said. "Injuries have sidelined me a lot in the last couple years and affected my game. I've worked hard to feel good. I've had a good summer of training, skating a lot. My body feels good. I'm ready to be the player I was a few years ago."

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