The Buffalo Sabres completed a big trade a day before free agency opens acquiring former team captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild.
The deal also adds the big 6’3 defenseman Marco Scandella to the roster and 2018 4th round pick.
Going the other way, the Sabres traded forwards Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis, and 2018 3rd round pick to the Wild.
Scandella is a key addition in General Manager Jason Botterill’s plan to improve the Sabres defense.
Pominville left Buffalo in April of 2013 when the Sabres dealt him to the Wild during the 2013 NHL trade deadline. Now, more than four years later, Pominville returns to an entirely new team. Ennis and Foligno were the only players remaining on the Sabres roster from when Pominville left.
He wasn’t too surprised to receive a trade call, but Pominville is happy that he’s headed back to Buffalo.
“You know what, I never really thought about it, but if there was going to be something that was going to happen, I mean Buffalo was definitely a place that me and my family was hoping for,” said Pominville. “I mean my little guy already has his jersey on right now, so he’s pumped and we’re excited and couldn’t be happier for me and my family.”
The other big name in the deal, Scandella, is someone Pominville said fans should be excited about.
“Well his size. He’s a big boy,” said Pominville. “He’s got a long reach. He’s physical, he can shoot the puck really well. He’s one of those guys that’s really annoying to play against.”
Scandella scored four goals last season and notched nine assists. He has 89 career points heading into his sixth full season in the NHL. The only Sabres’ defenseman to score more goals last season was Rasmus Ristolainen with six.
Sabres fans had fun on Twitter after TSN Analyst Bob McKenzie broke news of the deal. Fans welcomed back Pominville and there was a lot of talk about the population.
Anytime Pominville would score for the Sabres, fans expected to hear Rick Jeanneret to announce that ‘the population of Pominville’ went up by one.
“I’ll do my best to help out in that way [of scoring goals] as much as I can,” said Pominville. “But that’s funny cause I’ve gotten a thousand texts … but a lot from my friends from Buffalo and the first thing they said was ‘Population Pominville.’”
This is Botterill’s first big trade since becoming Sabres’ GM. Earlier this offseason he acquired Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu for a 3rd round pick in the most recent draft.