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Ducks Trade Schneider to Atlanta

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks announced today they have traded defenseman Mathieu Schneider to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Ken Klee, left wing Brad Larsen and left wing prospect Chad Painchaud.

The veteran Schneider had long been the subject of trade rumors since the Ducks are currently over the NHL salary cap of $56.7 million and need to make room to sign All-Star winger Teemu Selanne.

Klee, 37 (4/24/71), appeared in 72 contests with Atlanta in 2007-08, earning 1-9=10 points. The Indianapolis, IN native appeared in a career-high 81 contests with Colorado in 2006-07, leading the club in plus/minus (+18). The blueliner achieved career bests in assists (25) and points (29) while with Toronto in 2003-04. A veteran of 863 NHL games with five clubs (Washington, Toronto, New Jersey, Colorado and Atlanta), Klee has collected 54-130=184 points with 852 penalty minutes (PIM) and a career +21 rating. Originally selected by Washington in the ninth round (177th overall) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-1, 210-pound defenseman has also appeared in 51 career Stanley Cup Playoff contests, reaching the Eastern Conference Final with Washington in 1998.


Larsen, 31 (6/28/77), appeared in 62 contests with Atlanta in 2007-08, earning 1-3=4 points with 12 penalty minutes (PIM). The 6-0, 210-pound winger played in a career-high 72 games with the Thrashers in 2006-07, while also tying a career high for goals (7). He had a career year in 2005-06, establishing highs in goals (7), assists (8), points (15) and shorthanded goals (3). Larsen has appeared in 294 career NHL contests with Colorado and Atlanta, earning 19-29=48 points with 134 PIM. The Nakusp, British Columbia native appeared in 21 postseason contests with Colorado in 2002 en route to an appearance in the Western Conference Final before being eliminated by Detroit in seven games. He was originally selected by Colorado in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry draft.

Painchaud, 22 (5/27/86), split the 2007-08 season with Chicago (AHL) and Gwinnett (ECHL). The 6-1, 185-pound native of Mississauga, Ontario has appeared in 82 career ECHL contests, earning 30-37=67 points with 88 PIM. Selected by Atlanta in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Painchaud collected 69-78=147 points in 174 career OHL games with Mississauga and Sarnia. He led Sarnia in goals (31), assists (34) and points (65) in 2005-06, while also establishing personal bests in all categories. Painchaud represented the Western Conference in the 2006 OHL All-Star Classic and was also named the OHL Player of the Week on Mar. 20, 2005.

Schneider, 39 (6/12/69), appeared in 65 contests for Anaheim in 2007-08 after signing a two-year contract on July 1, 2007. He collected 12-27=39 points, finishing second among club defenseman in scoring and third overall in plus/minus (+22). He also became the sixth U.S.-born defenseman to reach 700 career NHL points with an assist in Anaheim’s contest vs. San Jose on Mar. 28, 2008.

Selected by Montreal in the third round (44th overall) of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Schneider has appeared in 1,197 career NHL games over 20 seasons. He has collected 212-490=702 points with a career +73 rating with Montreal, NY Islanders, Toronto, NY Rangers, Los Angeles, Detroit and Anaheim. A member of Montreal’s 1993 Stanley Cup championship team, Schneider has also played for Team USA in two Olympic Games (1998 in Nagano and 2006 in Turin) and at the 1996 World Cup (gold medal).

Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke spoke to reporters via conference call today about the trade and the possibility for more player movement:

I want to thank Mathieu Schneider for a job well done with us and I wish him and [wife] Shannon good luck in Atlanta and beyond. Mathieu came in a difficult year for us and played well. He’s a good man and I wish him well.

Of the players we’re acquiring, Chad is going right to Iowa, but the other two players are going to come in and we’re going to sort out what our next move is. First off, Ken Klee I’ve known for some time – not well, but to speak to him. He’s a versatile player who can play forward or defense, has size and does just about everything with some level of proficiency. With Brad Larsen, we have a hard-working useful player. Brad has been battling a groin injury and we’re not sure the extent of that yet. He was going to see a doctor today. Our plan is to bring him in today or tomorrow and see how he is physically.

What we’ve done here today is accomplish two goals, in my mind. We’ve gotten under the cap and we’ve managed to do it without parting with Bobby Ryan. A number of the proposals we received – and two of the more dogged and determined ones – would have required us to put Bobby Ryan in the deal. That was something we did not want to do. To me, that was a major goal and both those goals got accomplished today.

Mathieu Schneider’s cap hit was $5.625 million. You add Ken Clee at $1.25 million and Brad Larsen and $535,000 and I believe the net savings is $3.8 million. Since we’re plugging Brad into a spot in our budget that we hold at $500,000 puts at about $1.4 million under the cap.

We’re not done yet. Our next goal is to get under enough to sign Teemu Selanne and there are a couple ways to do that. One of those it to make additional player moves, and we’re going to explore what those might be. The other option is to send players to the minors, either ones who are on one-way contracts or a player who is on a two-way but takes up some cap room. We have a multitude of options, but our first priority was to get under the cap, solve Mathieu’s situation, get the focus back in training camp and move forward.

Plan A was today’s deal, but now we have to start looking at Plan B and Plan C, with the primary motivation being to get enough cap space to sign Teemu. We’re going a step at a time here. It’s like a game of chess. We made one move today and now we have to make a couple more. I haven’t sorted out what’s best just yet.

It’s proven to be more difficult to move players than I envisioned. You’re talking about a good hockey in Mathieu Schneider, a good person. But getting teams to take on that salary was difficult. So, to me, it’s a relief. And it’s the right thing to do for Mathieu. I wasn’t comfortable making him swing in the wind. I don’t like that a player’s fate hung in the balance for a few days like that. At least now there’s some certainty in his life as far as what happens next. It was a good day.

On whether the Ducks have enough room to sign Selanne now,
I’ve had discussions with [Selanne’s agent] Don Baizley and I don’t think it’s going to be enough. He’s being fair now and his proposals have been eminently reasonable in my mind. Barring a change there, I think we need to create additional room. I don’t necessarily want to go over the cap now, but at some point that may be what we need to do. We may say we’ve got to get him in some preseason games and get a rhythm going offensively, so maybe that’s the next step. Teemu can play in preseason games now, but it wouldn’t be fair to him to put him at risk. There is some risk in practices and scrimmages, but it changes dramatically in games. Teemu is such a free spirit, he might say he wants to play anyway. But my recommendation would be he not play until we get something done. We still have four games left after this weekend, so we’ve got some time here.

On Bobby Ryan’s situation,
Because Bobby is an entry-level player and he has performance bonuses, and because the NHLPA failed to notify the NHL that they weren’t going to re-open the Collective Bargaining Agreement, performance bonuses go in as hard cap dollars from Day 1. So, if Bobby does make our team – and certainly he made a statement the other night – you’re talking about a cap hit of around $1.8 million. However, he is on a two-way contract that does not require waivers if he’s sent to the minors, so that’s one way to get rid of $1.8 million. That has no escaped our attention. But we’re going to explore all avenues and the Samuelis want to win. That might mean that instead of doing that, we send someone on a one-way contract to the minors.

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