Reexamining the blockbuster trade between the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres that sent Jason Pominville back to the Sabres with Marco Scandella and netted Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis.
To refresh your memory, former Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher sent Jason Pominville, Marco Scandella, and a 2018 fourth-round pick to Buffalo in exchange for Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis, and a 2018 third-round pick in the summer of 2017.
On what planet do Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella have more value than Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis?
The Minnesota Wild somehow got the better of the two picks, props to Chuck Fletcher.
This deal didn’t make sense for Buffalo. Not only did the Wild acquire the best piece in the trade (Marcus Foligno), but they acquired the better of the two draft picks.
The 2018 third-round pick the Wild acquired in the deal ended up being Jack McBain (NCAA- Boston College) meanwhile the 2018 fourth-round pick sent to Buffalo turned out to be Linus Cronholm (SHL- Malmö Redhawks).
Breaking Down The Trade
Starting with what Buffalo Acquired – Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella
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Pominville, who hasn’t officially retired despite the Sabres not resigning him and still currently a UFA, has accumulated 32 goals and 33 assists for a total of 65 points in 155 games since returning to the Sabres.
Scandella, who spent roughly 2.5 seasons with the Sabres before being traded to Montreal, accumulated 14 goals and 30 assists for a total of 44 points in 176 games.
Now the Pieces the Wild acquired – Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis.
Foligno, a fan-favorite among Wild fans and a leader in the locker room, has amassed 26 goals, 41 assists for a total of 67 points in 218 games. Foligno leads the Wild in hits since his acquisition in the deal registering 575 hits.
Ennis only played a single season for the Wild where he registered 8 goals, 14 assists for a total of 22 points. Ennis averaged roughly 12 minutes a night. The Wild bought out the last year of the contract in 2018, a contract the Sabres originally signed in July of 2014. I for one didn’t understand why he wasn’t signed to at least a one-year deal.
Looking back, who won the trade?
I think this is quite obvious that the Wild came out on top, as Foligno was the biggest player involved in the trade.
With that being said, let’s look back at the trade analytically.
Using Evolving Hockey’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) which takes into account all aspects of the game including even-strength, powerplay, and shorthanded aspects.
A replacement-level player can be referred to as an eighth defenseman or 14th forward. For example, Nick Seeler was a replacement-level player who offered little value and was essentially an eighth-defenseman for the Wild.
"WAR Since TradeFoligno: 5.1 WAREnnis: 0.7 WARScandella: -0.5 WARPominville: 2.4 WAR———————–Wild – 5.8 WARSabres – 1.9 WAR"
Note: Scandella’s and Ennis’s WAR on their respective teams after leaving Buffalo and Wild respectively were not included since this is only analyzing who won the trade between the Wild and Sabres.
Not only this, Marcus Foligno is the only player that is left from the trade on either team (Assuming Buffalo doesn’t sign Pominville), but Foligno and Ennis accumulated 3.9 more WAR than Scandella and Pominville.
It is obvious the Wild won the trade as Foligno is the only player left on the team he was sent to in the trade. Marcus Foligno is one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards, leads the Wild in the hits department and he is a heart and soul type of player. Not to mention, Foligno had a career-year offensively.
Neither draft pick selected in 2018 has played an NHL game yet.