OTTAWA — Michael Frolik was sent by the Calgary Flames to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday as the final move in a series of trades that also involved the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.
Buffalo had traded veteran defenceman Marco Scandella to Montreal earlier in the day and received a 2020 fourth-round pick — originally belonging to San Jose — in return.
The Sabres then flipped that pick to Calgary in exchange for Frolik.
"It's always sad to see guys leave. As soon as I found out, I texted him," said Mikael Backlund, Frolik's longtime linemate on the Flames. "We played a lot of years together, spend a lot of time on the ice together, a lot of good memories and he's a great guy off the ice so it's hard to see him go and but I'm excited for him to get an opportunity."
The chain reaction of trades began when Ottawa acquired defenceman Mike Reilly from the Canadiens for forward Andrew Sturtz and the Senators' fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Trading Scandella allowed Buffalo to free up space under the salary cap while opening room on its crowded blue line. The deal cleared the way for the Sabres to add much-needed forward depth in Frolik, who's production has dropped this season.
Frolik has just five goals and five assists in 38 games with the Flames this year after scoring 15 or more eight times in 12 NHL seasons.
"It's never easy. Fro was a great teammate in the room and away from the rink, so it's never easy to see a guy like that go," said Calgary goalie Cam Talbot. "But obviously, Buffalo probably wanted him pretty bad to trade for him at this point in the season so hopefully he gets a good opportunity there."
Scandella, a 29-year-old Montreal native, has three goals and six assists in 31 games with the Sabres this season.
He has 133 points (41 goals, 92 assists) over 549 career games with Minnesota and Buffalo.
The 26-year-old Reilly has four assists over 14 games with the Canadiens this season.
The Chicago native has 41 points (seven goals, 34 assists) in 174 games with Montreal and Minnesota.
Sturtz, a 25-year-old from Buffalo, N.Y., has a goal and an assist through 14 games this season with the American Hockey League's Belleville Senators.
Trades between Ottawa and Montreal are rare. The last time the two Atlantic Division rivals made a deal was June 24, 2001, when the Senators sent forward Andreas Dackell to the Canadiens in exchange for an eighth-round pick.
With files from the Associated Press.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2020.
The Canadian Press