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Sabres trade Scandella to Montreal; acquire Flames’ Frolik

January 3, 2020 GMT
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Calgary Flames right wing Michael Frolik, left, celebrates his goal with Flames center Zac Rinaldo (36) as Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jordan Oesterle (82) skates past during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Calgary Flames right wing Michael Frolik, left, celebrates his goal with Flames center Zac Rinaldo (36) as Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jordan Oesterle (82) skates past during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill turned a defensive logjam into much-needed scoring depth with two trades Thursday to shake up his slumping team.

Buffalo freed up salary cap space by trading defenseman Marco Scandella to the Montreal Canadiens for a fourth-round draft pick. Botterill used the pick to acquire veteran forward Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames.

“We’ve been talking a lot about trying to make a situation: a defenseman for a forward. Obviously, we brought in another team to make it happen, but certainly excited to have Michael a part of our group here,” Botterill said during the first intermission of Buffalo’s home game against Edmonton.

Scandella was the odd-man out on a team already carrying eight defensemen, one more than usual.

In Frolik, the Sabres acquired a dependable veteran who has scored 15 or more goals in nine of his 12 seasons. He may also help Buffalo’s struggling special teams.

“We haven’t been very happy with the results at all,” Botterill said. “I would say since coming back from the break I think our team’s performed fairly well, but we haven’t gotten results. So, you’re always looking to try and find a fix. ”

Buffalo had lost four straight and was 1-6-1 in its past eight before playing Edmonton.

Buffalo entered the game with the NHL’s 22nd ranked power play, which has converted 0 of 14 chances over its past five games. Buffalo’s penalty-killing unit, meanwhile, ranks 28th and has allowed eight power-play goals in its past six games.

Frolik had just five goals and five assists in 38 games with the Flames. He is in the final year of a five-year, $21 million contract.

The 29-year-old Scandella is also in the final year of a five-year, $20 million contract and eligible to become an unrestricted free agent following this season. He’s a 10-year veteran who was acquired by Buffalo in a multiplayer deal with the Minnesota Wild following the 2016-17 season.

Scandella is a defensive-minded player who had just three goals and nine points in 31 games this season.

At 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, Scandalla provides additional size to a Canadiens’ blue line that already includes Shea Weber.

Scandella fills the spot left open after the Canadiens dealt defenseman Mike Reilly to Ottawa earlier in the day. The Canadiens acquired forward Andrew Sturtz and a 2021 fifth-round pick from Ottawa.

Botterill said he was so intent on providing the Sabres a midseason spark, it didn’t matter whether Scandella’s addition helps Montreal, an Atlantic Division rival.

“We’re in a situation here right now where we have to improve our own team,” Botterill said.

The trade comes as the Sabres are slumping and players are complaining about their ice time. Defenseman Zach Bogosian asked to be traded last month and was followed by third-line forward Evan Rodrigues, who went public with his trade request Tuesday.

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