Friday, June 30, 2017

Sabres & Wild Swap

2017 Season July 1st Status
To Buffalo Pos Age GP Goals Points Years Cap
Marco Scandella D 27 71 4 13 3 $4m
Jason Pominville F 34 78 13 37 2 $5.6m
4th Round Draft Pick
To Minnesota Pos Age GP Goals Points Years Cap
Tyler Ennis F 27 51 5 13 2 $4.6m
Marcus Foligno F 25 80 13 23 0 RFA
3rd Round Draft Pick

I wouldn't necessarily have guessed that the Minnesota Wild were in need of dropping a load of salary cap hits this summer, but on the eve of free agency opening up, they dropped a pile on the Buffalo Sabres in a deal that sees some players in need of a reboot to their production, get a change of scenery on Friday.

The deal above sees four players shift spots, but only one of those players, Jason Pominville, was considered to be pool worthy in the 2017 season, while the other three either suffered through injury or a cold spell last season and their numbers were significantly down.

The Sabres add some real quality talent in this deal, as Pominville returns to Buffalo as a seasoned vet with some scoring upside and then on top of that, they add a top four defenseman in Marco Scandella, who should compliment the team's existing top three in Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges.

For the Wild, trading away Scandella takes a big piece out of their blueline and they don't exactly have anyone to fill that void, unless they have made some progress in unrestricted free agent talks, ahead of the window opening tomorrow morning.  The Wild do add a little bit of speed and size with the two forwards that they picked up, but Tyler Ennis is coming off an injury-plagued season, dealing with his groin, while Marcus Foligno has slowly been coming along, but once signed, he could be a good physical option in the Wild lineup.

Salary CapThe Sabres were definitely in need of some salary cap help heading into the summer, as they were still below the cap floor, before this trade dropped.  The Sabres' number has now have lifted up above the floor and they still have $15.5 million in cap space, as a budget team.

The Wild opened up a good deal of space in this deal and they should get Foligno at a reasonable rate, priming their salary cap number for a busy summer, where they still have to re-sign Markus Granlund and Nino Niederreiter.  The Wild, by my early counts, have about $14.4 million in cap space, with four potential spots left to fill.  That number is going to take a kicking with those two RFA contracts to sign, so we may still see some more movement from the Wild before the puck drops.

The Sabres are trying to keep promises to Jack Eichel, clearly, trying to make the team more competitive around their number one player and this deal certainly does that.  A strong defenseman like Scandella can go a long ways in the competitive balance, plus adding Pominville should add both scoring and leadership qualities, making the Sabres far more interesting this summer.

The Wild are floundering in this deal and they took on a couple of question marks, to say the least.  There has to be more to this deal than just dumping salary, so the coming days are going to be clutch for this franchise's future.

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