Buffalo Sabres: Can Marco Scandella remain healthy?

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Marco Scandella
SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Marco Scandella /

The Buffalo Sabres say they’re just being cautious with Marco Scandella, but can he stay free from injury and be a consistent performer on the blue line?

Given a day off to rest his surgically repaired hip, Marco Scandella was expected to return to practice on Thursday, with the rest of his Buffalo Sabres teammates. When this didn’t happen, there was some understandable concern, given his issues with injury since entering the NHL.

However, Sabres coach Phil Housley claimed it was just a precautionary move and there was nothing to worry about. Speaking to John Vogl of The Buffalo News and other members of the media, Housley said:

"“He’s in a great place right now. I thought he was going to be out today, but he wasn’t. He’ll probably be out tomorrow, but it’s just a day-to-day maintenance thing for him. We want him to feel comfortable when we start getting up for regular season.”"

Of course, you can appreciate Housley’s approach with a player, who is still recovering from arthroscopic surgery back in May. And Scandella did return to practice on Friday, which is obviously encouraging for a player who missed three of the Buffalo Sabres’ first seven training camp sessions.

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Regardless, there is always the specter of injury, when it comes to the 2008 second round draft pick. Fair or not, perception is reality and the perception is that he is injury-prone.

However, it is worth noting Scandella has averaged 71 regular season games during the four previous campaigns. If the Sabres can get 71 games from him during the 2017/18 campaign, not many people are going to complain.

Certainly, the 27-year-old will be expected to play a significant role in strengthening the blue line, which was considered the weak link on the team last season. He is big, physical and aggressive, which are all attributes Housley’s needs from his defense.

As for the Scandella himself, he sounds cautiously optimistic about his rehab. Speaking to WGR 550’s Paul Hamilton and other members of the media on Friday, he said:

"“I feel good today, had a good skate and it’s good to be out with the boys, but some days it’s not going to be as good as others. I’m coming off surgery, just getting back into playing at the NHL level, practicing hard, just taking our time with it so I don’t get reinjured.”"

The cautious approach by the Buffalo Sabres means Scandella will not play in either game against the Toronto Maple Leafs this weekend. This leaves just two other possible pre-season games for him to appear in, before the real action begins.

The Montreal, Quebec native admitted he doesn’t know if he will play in either game next week. However, as long as he’s on the ice on Oct. 6 when the Sabres host the Montreal Canadiens, that’s all that matters.

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What kind of season are you predicting for Scandella this season? Do you see him being an effective and regular contributor for the Buffalo Sabres? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.