The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired center Doug Weight, left wing Michal Birner and a seventh round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for center Andy McDonald.
“Andy McDonald has been a great contributor for us over the last few seasons, and we thank him for the tremendous work ethic and character he brought to our club,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke. “At the same time, we are pleased to add one of the most dynamic passers in the NHL today with Doug Weight. His production and leadership during his NHL and international career speak for themselves.”
Weight, 36 (1/21/71), scored 4-7=11 points with a +4 rating and 12 penalty minutes (PIM) in 29 games with the Blues this season. The four-time NHL All-Star (1996, 1998, 2001, 2003) has scored 4-1=5 points in his last four games.
A native of Detroit, MI, Weight helped Carolina to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006, scoring 3-13=16 points in 23 playoff games. He has scored 259-696=955 points with 877 PIM in 1,093 career NHL games between the New York Rangers (1990-93), Edmonton Oilers (1993-2001), Blues (2001-07), and Carolina Hurricanes (2006). Among active all-time NHL leaders, Weight ranks seventh in assists and 10th in points. In addition, he has played for Team USA in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, 1996 and 2004 World Cup, and 2005 World Championship.
Birner, 21 (3/2/86), has appeared in 18 games for Peoria (Blues’ AHL affiliate) this season, scoring 2-5=7 points with four PIM. Originally selected by St. Louis in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Birner played his first professional season with Peoria last year. In 66 games for the Rivermen, he scored 11-17=28 points with 20 PIM.
A native of Litomerice, Czech Republic, Birner split his time in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) between Barrie and Saginaw from 2004-2006. In 119 OHL games, he collected 42-85=127 points with 132 PIM in 119 games. Birner, who played for Team Czech Republic at the 2005 World Junior Championship, also captured a bronze medal as a member of the Czech Republic team at the 2004 World Junior Under-18 Championship in Belarus.
McDonald, 30 (8/25/77), has appeared in 33 games this season, scoring 4-12=16 points with 30 PIM. He has played in 391 career games with the Ducks after signing as a free agent on Apr. 3, 2000.
A native of Strathroy, Ontario, McDonald played in 82 games during the 2006-07 campaign for Anaheim, scoring 27-51=78 points. He appeared in his first NHL All-Star Game last season and won his first Stanley Cup Championship.
Doug and his wife Allison have three children, Ryan, Danny and Addison. Attached are career statistics and transactions for Doug Weight.
Burke and Weight each spoke to the media soon after the trade was complete. Following are transcripts:
On the trade:
It’s good to be a Duck. Any time there’s any type of move, it’s a tough situation and a tough decision. It’s been a strange turn of events here for a couple of days. All I know is right now with each moment I’m more excited. I plan on being professional, prepared and give everything I can to the Ducks organization as should be expected. I realize that an organization makes a commitment each time they make moves. I’m just going to come and do the best that I can and try to contribute as much as I can.
We all know the position the Ducks were in, as far as the cap, as far as Scott coming back, as far as their future and things had to be done. It makes me feel good that the Ducks want me. They know that I’m going to compete. I’m proud of how I played in big games and playoff games in the past. Hopefully his year is no different. I plan on coming to Anaheim with a great attitude. I plan on being a great teammate and a player that’s going to fit in and not ruffle any feathers.
On his familiarity with some of the Ducks:
I have played with Pronger (in St. Louis). I played with Todd Marchant in Edmonton. I have already talked to Todd. I’ve obviously played with Mathieu Schneider on a couple of Olympic teams and some World Cup experiences. I know him very well. Being through the league as long as I have, I’ve played against a lot of these guys. Todd, the great thing, he was really high about the mix of the team and the depth of the team. He was just really excited about me coming and excited to tell how much he liked the team. I would expect no different from a Stanley Cup championship team. After playing on one in Carolina, it was a great team and great guys. I’m pretty excited just to fit in. They have lost a teammate. I’m going to try and come in and play some great hockey for them.
On his season thus far:Brian Burke
As a player, I have to take responsibility for the fact that the puck wasn’t going in. I have felt very strong this year. I felt like I’ve never been more unlucky, as I can honestly say I’ve had some bad bounces. But I’ve felt a lot better as of late, as far as getting some results. I’m very confident in my game.
On Andy McDonald:
Every time I trade a player, I start off with the same thing, which is to thank that player for what he did in a Ducks uniform. In Andy’s case, that’s pretty significant. He’s one of the better players that ever put on a Ducks uniform.
On telling McDonald he’d been traded:
Players generally don’t like getting traded out of Orange County. I haven’t traded anyone since I got here that took it cheerfully. This team is a destination team. We made it one with the ownership here, the climate here, the fan base here, playing to a full building and having a chance to win, these are all positives. We think this is a place where players want to go. The flip side of that coin is when you move a guy out of here, they’re not doing handstands. It was a short and terse conversation and I wished him well and thanked him for what he’d done here. He’s a good man.
On Doug Weight:
He’s been a warrior in our league. He’s been a warrior in terms of points scored and PIM’s. He played really in every hole that you can play in at center. He’s been good enough to play in the one hole and scrappy enough to play in the four hole. He’s a good faceoff guy and an excellent passer. I respect that fact that he’s gone to war for his country every time he’s been asked. He’s played in three Olympic Games and several World Championships. This guy can pass the puck and compete. I’ve had first hand knowledge of that in the playoffs when we’ve played his teams in the past. To me, we got a warrior back that can to play in the two hole. McDonald and Todd Bertuzzi were not successful in developing any chemistry together. We’re hoping that Bertuzzi can find a little bit more chemistry with Doug Weight, so we’re very pleased to have him. We think this might be a better fit.
On the trade:
Moving a player like Andy is tough. But we’re following our compass and our blueprint, which is to keep the best defense group we can put together. That’s what happened here. One route would have been to move a defenseman. One route would have been to move Andy. As we’ve done since I got here, we put a priority on defense. I think it’s a special group. I’m pleased we were able to keep them together. We got a late pick in the deal and we also got Michal Birner, a young Czech forward who we think has a chance to play. All in all it solves a bunch of problems for us. The main thing is it solves a priority for us, as far as keeping our defense together. It does create a little bit of tagging room for next year, so that with maybe one other smaller move after the holiday’s we can commence negotiations with Corey Perry, which is also a priority for us.
Because of his salary and because he only has one year left, Mathieu Schneider was an attractive target for other teams. We got a number of offers on him. There are two reasons to keep Mathieu Schneider. One is he’s a pretty special player. He’s been, I think, really strong for us since he came back from his injury. Two, I think you have to keep some level of good faith with free agents if you can. The guy has a home in the LA area and he’s got four young kids. He didn’t come here to get traded. He doesn’t have a no trade clause. He held out for one and we said no, so we’re well within our legal rights to trade him but I think at the same time, a player like that with what he’s done in the game deserves a little more consideration than that. We kept coming back to our blueprint. What made us successful last year? It wasn’t that we had the best group of forwards in the National Hockey League. It was our defense we believe and our goaltender is locked up as well. We got the back end of the rink looked after. Now we’ll see what this does to the front end of the rink.
A big part of this is the evaluation of Ryan Getzlaf. Ryan Getzlaf last year at this time was our no. 2 center. He started grabbing minutes away from the other centers and grabbing special team’s play away from the other centers last year about this time, in terms of cranking up his game, taking on a leadership role and asserting himself physically. To me, part of this solution today, in terms of keeping our defense together is that fact that Ryan Getzlaf has moved into the one hole on our team at center. That means you’re not taking your no. 1 center out now, you’re taking out your no. 2 center. We think Doug Weight can fill that hole. Maybe not the same player as Andy, different, but that’s been a big part of it.