New Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is wasting no time adding depth to his roster.
Friday, the Sabres acquired forward Jason Pominville, defenseman Marco Scandella and a fourth-round pick from the Minnesota Wild for Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and a third-round selection.
Buffalo fans will be pleased at the re-acquisition of Pominville, who played for the Sabres for nine seasons as a top-line player and is a former captain. The addition of Scandella, however, may ultimately be what wins this trade.
Financially, Buffalo takes on some decent salary for the next couple seasons.
Pominville counts for $5.6 million against the salary cap for the next two years, while Scandella will cost $4 million through 2019-20. It's a significant increase from what they were paying Ennis ($4.6 million for two more years) and Foligno (a restricted free agent was qualified for $2.25 million).
Buffalo is still in decent shape with the salary cap — the Sabres are due for extensions for Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart after the 2017-18 season (both will be restricted free agents), but have $34.5 million to play with next summer.
The Sabres aren't getting back the same Pominville they dealt to Minnesota during the 2012-13 season. In his last full season in Buffalo, Pominville was a 73-point scorer — he won't reach those numbers in this next go-around. He can be, however, counted on to reach double-digit goals and 40-plus points. For a team like the Sabres that struggles to score, he's a solid asset even if he's somewhat pricey.
Pominville was a little sheltered last season in Minnesota — he had positive possession stats (53.5 percent shots for vs. shots against when he was on the ice), but rarely started shifts in his own zone (29.83 percent). Possession isn't quite as relevant when you're a winger like Pominville, but it's a positive sign that when his line starts in the offensive zone they can generally sustain offensive pressure.
Of the eight forwards that Pominville played at least 100 even-strength minutes last year, seven had superior possession numbers playing with Pominville than without — pretty impressive considering the Wild as a whole were not strong in this regard.
Scandella isn't a big point producer or minutes eater. He set career highs in points (23) and average time on ice (21:43) in 2014-15. Those numbers slot Scandella more as a second-pairing guy, but the Sabres could slide him with Rasmus Ristolainen to solidify their top unit. With him and the recently-acquired Nathan Beaulieu, the Sabres can string together a manageable defensive unit instead of the horrendous one from 2016-17.
Botterill on Scandella (via the Sabres' official website): "It was another priority for us to find another guy that can play some heavy minutes and we think Marco did a little bit of that in Minnesota. Our staff is drawn to the fact that he has good size, moves extremely well ... we think there's even more offensive upside to his game. We also think he's a guy that can help our PK."
Ennis has been in and out of trade rumors for the better part of three seasons now and could certainly use the change of scenery. The three-time 20-goal scorer has played in only 74 games over the past two seasons with an abysmal 24 points. For a player making over $4 million a season, Ennis has left plenty to be desired.
In his last two seasons of limited ice time, Ennis struggled to find consistent linemates. The Sabres never really tried him on Eichel's wing, instead playing him with either Ryan O'Reilly or Zemgus Girgensons and the results were mixed.
Foligno was an OK role player for the Sabres, but ultimately very replaceable. He scored 13 goals last season and 10 the year before that and, unlike Ennis, didn't miss much time. If Botterill is going to try and copy the Pittsburgh mold with more skill in the Sabres' bottom six forwards, the nuts-and-bolts Foligno doesn't fit the mold.