As far as social media fans have been concerned, Marco Scandella became expendable early in the 2021-22 season. Much of that is an overreaction, but there is not much doubt that Scandella had a rather poor season.
The funny thing is that it’s rather hard to pinpoint what was wrong with Scandella. If you look at the stats, he was normal.
He had a typical offensive season for him. Scandella was a plus-player, had a decent amount of hits and his turnover numbers were not nearly as bad as one might think.
However, he just did not pass the eye test. His partnership with Colton Parayko had all but dissolved, he was out of position at times and seemed a step too slow.
The coaching staff must have agreed. While some of his ice time was due to some injury problems, it has to be noted that his 18:08 average ice time is the lowest he’s had with the Blues and also the lowest in a full season since 2018-19 with Buffalo.
Scandella was also a minus-4.5 in Expected Plus/Minus, which is an advanced statistic. What that looks into is where the shots, for and against, came from compared to the league average of those same shot placements across the league.
While it’s a little more technical, if you boil it down, a minus player in expected plus/minus is giving up more goals than the average defender with a shot from that exact same spot.
I don’t believe Scandella is a bad player. However, he has reverted to type and is now what he was in Minnesota, which is a third-pairing defender, ideally.
$3.275 million is not terrible, but it’s a little high for a bottom pair defender. Robert Bortuzzo is not even making $1 million per season.
St. Louis probably needs to look for an upgrade somehow, but they also have organizational depth that makes Scandella more expendable.
Scott Perunovich still needs to become a better defender and stronger, but he’s on the fast track to the NHL full time. Niko Mikkola needs to be a little smarter with the puck and have quicker decisions, but at worst, he’s already Scandella level and is younger and potentially cheaper.
Calle Rosen may only be a depth piece that shuttles from Springfield to St. Louis, but he stepped up well in the playoffs. It might be replacement by committee.
The bottom line is that Scandella was brought in to be the counterpoint to Parayko and it worked beautifully for those 11 regular season games in 2020. It has not worked so well since.
The Blues have some players lined up and could use the cap room.