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Sabres improve forward depth with addition of Frolik

Botterill expects forward to add even-strength scoring, experience on penalty kill

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Jason Botterill had been in the market to swap a defenseman for a forward, an objective that came to fruition with a series of deals on Thursday evening. 

The Buffalo Sabres acquired a fourth-round pick from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Marco Scandella, then flipped the pick to the Calgary Flames for forward Michael Frolik. 

Frolik, 31, has tallied five goals and five assists in 38 games with Calgary this season. His resume includes eight seasons with at least 10 even-strength goals (he scored 14 last season), 10 seasons with at least 10 total goals, and a Stanley Cup championship with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. 

"We were trying to add to our forward group here and with Michael we like his even-strength play," Botterill said. "We think he's a very strong 5-on-5 player. He's also a player that has championship pedigree. He's been in the playoffs before, won a Stanley Cup. 

"Then you look at how we've played over the last few weeks. I think we've played pretty well at 5-on-5, but our special teams have to be better. We think Michael can come in and help us on our penalty kill. We see him as a winger who can play up and down our lineup and we're certainly excited to have him."

Video: JASON BOTTERILL

Frolik has averaged 1:08 of shorthanded ice time this season for a Calgary penalty kill that ranks fourth in the NHL. The Sabres penalty kill ranked 28th entering their game against Edmonton on Thursday.

The ability to trade Scandella stemmed from an abundance of depth on the back end. The Sabres still have seven defensemen on the NHL roster following the series of trades, plus four in Rochester with NHL experience in William Borgen, John Gilmour, Casey Nelson, and Lawrence Pilut. 

Botterill said the team will continue to look at options to add to its forward group.

"I think Marco's played very well this year," he said. "I think he came into the organization, first year had a strong year. Last year, even under his own beliefs maybe didn't play up to his potential. But he's done a very good job and I think that's why there was more of a demand for him.

"We're in a situation here right now where we have to improve our own team, and we felt this was a trade that we wanted to make to improve our group here in Buffalo."

Frolik is not expected to arrive in time for the Sabres' home game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Botterill said next week is more realistic, making next Thursday's game in St. Louis a possible target for his debut. 

Botterill was also asked to address TSN reports that defenseman Zach Bogosian and forward Evan Rodrigues have requested trades over the past month. 

"We have a lot of conversations with our players throughout the year and, as I've said before, I'm going to keep those conversations private," he said. "I can't control what a player or his agent or whoever ends up saying to the media. But it also doesn't impact or dictate what we're going to do with our team here. 

"The bottom line is I think you look around the room, there's always going to be some acceptance, there's always going to be some players who are disappointed with their role or want more ice time or opportunity. But it's also our belief what we're trying to do is create more competition within our team.

"We have to build up our depth. We have to build and have more internal competition for goals. There's always going to be players that are a little disgruntled. But I think for the majority, our players are very excited to be working with Ralph and excited where our team's going."

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