On June 30, 2017, Sabres GM Jason Botterill made his first big splash. A splash that showed some fans were still wet behind he ears. Meaning, immature in their judgement (it’s okay, I had to look up what ‘wet behind the ears’ meant too). But I say this because a lot of fans had some harsh opinions of the move. And understandably so, I was a bit skeptical at first. The Sabres shipped the often injured, but talented, Tyler Ennis along with gritty vet, and fan favorite, Marcus Foligno, to Minnesota.
Id gotten used to, as many others have, the Sabres keeping the fans favorites, moving out some “other” pieces and seemingly winning their trades. But after years of “winning” their trades, its time to ask ourselves, ‘If they won all those trades, how come they haven’t won many games?’ I mean, this team hasn’t even sniffed playoff since I was a freshman in college. Ohh no! My age is showing!
But this year could be a different story. Im not saying they’re a playoff team, but I’m thinking they’ve turned a corner as an organization. So what is the this trade that’s got everyone talking?
Well, coming back to the Sabres is a fourth round pick… but they’re also sending a third rounder to Minnesota. Ohhh, and Marco Scandella, that’s right! After a season that highlighted Buffalo’s weakness on defense, adding a young, talented, two way defenseman was a huge point of focus this offseason. And they got their man. Despite suffering a down season offensively, Scandella is poised to succeed in Buffalo with an increased role under the coaching of Phil Housley. Huge hole filled.
But that wasn’t it… also coming back, and literally ‘coming back’ to Buffalo, was former Captain, Jason Pominville. Pomnville broke into the NHL with the Sabres fulltime in 2005-2006. A member of the iconic teams of the mid 2000’s, Pominville’s return has been met with either total fandom, excitement and nostalgia, or harsh criticism.
I mean, after all, Pommer is getting older. At 34, and with an annual cap hit of 5.6Mil for the next two season, his best season’s offensively are behind him. But that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have a lot to offer a team. and if you have the cap room the Sabres do. It makes sense. And from a sheer production standpoint, whichever way you argue it, the addition of Pominville is going to help.
Over the last three seasons, Foligno and Ennis have contributed a combined 136 points in 364 games. Pominville on the other hand has contributed 137 in only 235 games. Points aren’t everything, I know that. But bottom line, I think Pominville is going to help this team win some games this year.
The Sabres made some more additions to help this organization get on the right track, signing some guys who can contribute at both the NHL and AHL level. Goaltender Chad Johnson returned to Buffalo, and joining him were forward Benoit Pouliot, and Jacob Josefson. While defenseman Matt Tennyson, forwards Seth Griffith, Kyle Criscuolo and returnee Kevin Porter, and goalie Adam Wilcox will provide depth, leadership and skill to the Rochester Americans.
Being a Sabres fan, to quote Sir Sly “it feels good for the first time in a long time now.”