Thursday, January 2, 2020

Marco Scandella: Two Autographed Cards

All season long so far, Montréal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has been telling GM Marc Bergevin through the media that he doesn't like his options for the bottom-two roles on defense; while Shea Weber, Victor Mete, Jeff Petry and Ben Chiarot have been playing a bunch of minutes, Brett Kulak, rookie Cale Fleury and Mike Reilly have been alternating with call-ups Christian Folin, Otto Leskinen, Gustav Olofsson for some playing time, with veterans Xavier Ouellet and Karl Alzner also available with the AHL's Laval Rocket. And the NHL season hasn't even reached the halfway mark yet!

Kulak, Reilly, Olofsson, and Folin were all acquired via trade by Bergevin and re-signed afterwards; Ouellet, Leskinen and Alzner were free agent signings. All of them were chosen to be on the roster by the GM. And the coach cannot find a way to use any of them properly.

A few hours ago, Bergevin moved Reilly - a good skater with a decent pass and some offensive vision who at times makes bizarre decisions in his own zone, not unlike two-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Schultz or now-appreciated veteran Ron Hainsey - to the Ottawa Senators for a late-round draft pick and a career minor-leaguer and followed that up by acquiring Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres for a fourth-rounder.

Scandella, a Montréal native whose uncle Sergio Momesso played with the Habs in the late 1980s and won a Stanley Cup here in 1986, is understandably ecstatic about coming home. His $4M cap probably no longer represents the kind of player he's become, but in his mid-20s, he was capable of playing upwards of 21 minutes per game (with a high of 23:19 in his first season with the Sabres in 2017-18), was good for some 20 points per season despite limited powerplay time and was a cornerstone of the Minnesota Wild's defense, playing in a shut-down role while Ryan Suter took care of the offensive-zone starts and easy minutes.

The wild's second-round pick in 2008 (55th overall) played his Juniors career with the LHJMQ's Foreurs de Val d'Or, where he had such an impact that he was their captain for two-thirds of his time there. He's a born leader and will make for a calming presence to help Fleury develop more effectively... provided Julien plays him that way. We're talking about the same coach who plays Chiarot upwards of 30 minutes per game and has a history of benching his most talented young players (Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin, Charles Hudon, Jonathan Drouin).

Here is Scandella wearing the Foreurs' "classic" dark (away) uniform in his rookie Juniors season - notice the awful socks - on card #94 from In The Game's 2008-09 Heroes And Prospects set:
And here he is wearing the Reebok Edge uniform, with asymmetric lines and terrible piping (albeit with better socks), on card #103 from In The Game's 2009-10 Heroes And Prospects set, sporting the captain's "C":
Both were signed in blue sharpie back when he played for Minnesota. I look forward to having him sign a card showing him with the Canadiens. I also wish him the best of luck in this circus, where the team is in danger of missing the playoffs the third straight season and the fourth time in the past five years.

No comments:

Post a Comment