Many first became acquainted with him after he was suspended for 15 games after elbowing Alexandre Durette of the Rimouski Oceanic in the head. This came after he returned from representing Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championships, helping the team win silver.
The Minnesota Wild are said to be very high on the defenceman, but there seems to be some apprehension regarding his injury woes. He apparently can “get himself hurt” on a semi-regular basis, which has got to temper the bottom line more than a little bit.
For now, Scandella finds himself with a daily spot on the Wild roster thanks to injuries and the recent Pierre-Marc Bouchard suspension. He has, thus far, played in five games and has registered a goal.
Impressed? Didn’t think so.
The thing to keep in mind here is upside, a tough consideration in a world generally bereft of nuance. But at 6’3, 208 points, Scandella is a big boy. And he’s a fast one, too, blessed with some serious speed for a player his size. According to scouting from The Hockey News, Marco has “all-around upside” and “can log a lot of minutes.” In Minnesota, that could translate to a few nice points for a blueliner – especially a depth blueliner.
His ability to rush with the puck is something that Wild fans have been looking for, too, so that has to factor in. The Bouchard suspension meant that Scandella slid into the power play unit and he looked slick in the spot. Now that the suspension’s over, Wild coach Mike Yeo has some thinking to do about Marco’s role.
Think of opening night in Minnesota. Scandella logged 21:58, scored a goal and blocked a shot. Not bad. He put in a solid, well-rounded performance that had more than a few tongues wagging.
Conventional wisdom has Scandella as a top-four defenceman for most of 2011-2012 in Minnesota. There’s still the aspect of raw physical strength that has to be addressed, as he could use more of it. And his defensive zone coverage could use a little work.
Is this season Marco Scandella’s NHL coming-out party? Maybe. He seems eager to earn his stripes in the league, but the book on him remains a mixed bag. Some have him linked with a possible power play puck-mover, while others have Scandella slated as a shutdown guy.
Whatever book you’re reading, you may want to give this guy another look.