27-Year-Old Defenseman – Buffalo Sabres
Marco Scandella Contract Information:
Agreed to a five-year, $20 million contract extension with the Wild in November of 2014.
Scandella (hip) returned to practice Friday, The Buffalo News reports.
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Marco Scandella: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
A double-digit-goal season in 2014-15 had Scandella looking ready for a breakout, but he put forth a quiet five goals and 21 points while mostly being deployed in a defense-oriented role last year. That role is the crux of his issue – he sees much more time on the penalty kill than the power play, and he appears ticketed for a third-pairing role once again. Scandella’s done a lot with the minutes he’s gotten, but there’s a limit to what he can achieve while buried on the depth chart.
Scandella is coming off a banner year offensively. The 25-year-old blueliner set career marks in goals (11) and points (23) despite playing just 64 games. Unsurprisingly, Scandella's breakout was aided by a personal best in shooting percentage, as he converted on 9.8 percent of his chances, a mark more than three points higher than his career average. Playing in the team’s top-four while also seeing ice time on the power play, Scandella has strong upside when it comes to offensive production from the blue line, and at 25, is entering the prime years of his development. At an imposing 6-foot-3, Scandella presents an interesting counter to undersized defensive partner Jared Spurgeon, and could also raise his hit and blocked shot totals to new heights if health permits.
Scandella tallied three goals and 14 assists through 76 games last season. In many ways, it's tough to see these as breakout numbers for the young defender, but thy were career-highs. His upside isn't gigantic, but with the departure of Clayton Stoner, Scandella should see consistent time in the top-four for Minnesota.
Scandella is a tough, stay-at-home defender who spent most of 2012-13 in the AHL. But he's pretty much guaranteed a roster spot in 2013-14 because he'll need to clear waivers to get sent down. And there are probably a dozen or more teams that would love to have a wide wing span, no-nonsense defender to help them keep their kitchen clear. Now, he has struggled with plus-minus in the past, but the addition of Ryan Suter and the emergence of Jonas Brodin has helped stabilize the Wild's back end. And that environment might give Scandella a boost. His best contribution to fantasy will be blocked shots -- he has no issues throwing himself in front of 95 mph slap shots. Draft him only if you need that specialization.
Welcome to the top four, Mr. Scandella. His plus-minus was atrocious (minus-22 in 63 games) last season, but the arrival of Ryan Suter will take the defensive pressure off all of the Wild's young blueliners. Scandella plays a smart, steady game and makes a solid first pass. He also has underrated offensive skills, courtesy of a big slapper that shows well on the power play. His game will definitely grow this season and 25 points is within reach.
Scandella, a 21-year-old defenseman, made the important jump to the NHL last season but experienced a reality check after posting a minus-9 rating with just two points in 20 games with the Wild. The smooth skater also spent 33 games with AHL Houston, Minnesota's minor league affiliate, collecting three goals and 16 assists in the regular season. It's worth noting that Scandellla dealt with a concussion and a broken finger in 2011, otherwise his NHL numbers could have been more impressive. The offseason departure of Brent Burns leaves a gaping hole in the Wild defense, making Scandella a candidate for an expanded role at the NHL level in 2011-12.
Hockey is in Scandella's blood. His uncle was one-time NHL player Sergio Momesso and his brother plays for the Italian national team. The defenseman has the skills to be a good player one day in the NHL. He has great mobility, is a strong skater and possess great balance, which is important for a defenseman to have. However, he's not a very physical player. He has good size, 6-foot-2, 190 lbs, for a 20-year-old. This 2008, second round pick, has a few more seasons in the minors.
Scandella has the size and talent to be a shut-down defenseman, but he's likely a couple of years off from being considering for a roster spot with the Wild.
The Wild took Scandella in the second round (55th overall) of this summer's entry draft. He'll likely start this season in Houston of the AHL.