The Ducks have confirmed that defenseman Mathieu Schneider has cleared waivers and remains on the Ducks roster.
Schneider had until 9 a.m. (Pacific) this morning to be claimed by another NHL team.
The 39-year-old Schneider played in 65 games for the Ducks during the 2007-08 regular season, scoring 12 goals and 27 assists with a plus-22 rating. He played in all six playoff games, scoring one goal and posting a minus-3.
Schneider has played 1,197 regular season games for seven teams: Montreal, New York Islanders, Toronto, New York Rangers, Los Angeles, Detroit and Anaheim. He has career toals of 212 goals and 490 assists. Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke spoke with reporters via conference call Wednesday afternoon. Following is a transcript:
The decision to put Mathieu Schneider on waivers was based upon several factors. One was timing. It’s our belief that a number of veteran players are going to begin to appear on the waiver wire in the next little while. One came on today. I don’t think there will be a player offered as good as Mathieu Schneider, but there will be some players that teams will have to look at, at the defense position. We wanted to avoid any clutter or any chance that a team would see Mathieu’s name next to another name and say ‘Well this guy is comparable, cheaper or younger’. That was part of it. Another part of it was this was the best effort to move all the money in one fell swoop, to move the entire salary. That was the second factor. The third was we wanted to see if we could do it from a timing standpoint that would free the money up immediately to sign Teemu. That was the decision. If people are wondering, ‘Well, why did they put him on?’ It was based on those three factors and the fourth one was our inability to move him conventionally. We’ve been trying to trade Mathieu and have not been able to put a deal together that makes sense, so we said we’re going to take a shot at this route and see what happens.
I’m not surprised that he cleared. There was always that chance. A player with that big of a salary in the salary-cap era, that is a risk you run and we were prepared. It’s not like when he cleared I was stunned. We accepted that as a realistic risk. That being said, looking at some of the team’s defenses, I’m amazed, astonished, bewildered that he wasn’t claimed. Where does this leave us? In the past week, I have turned down a minimum of five proposals for Mathieu Schneider via trade. All of them included Mathieu, but also all included additional assets. Either we had to put another player in or a player back. It wasn’t a clean transaction that didn’t net us out at the same level from a salary cap perspective. We will now return to those options and see. Now we know that moving the entire salary is not realistic, so how much money and what player do we have to take back for a deal to line up? One of the teams that is involved in this process has already called since Mathieu cleared and I’ll just resume those same discussions. In our minds, it was a chance to jump off the track that we were on and see if there was a chance to move him in this way. Now, we just have to get back on that track and do it the conventional way. We’ll turn back to those options immediately.
On what the Ducks would have to net for a deal to make sense,
One of the proposals that was made to us, we got a player back and a draft pick, but the player involved was on a multi-year deal, which I wasn’t interested in. Another proposal was a much bigger deal, where Mathieu would be a part of it and there would be significant assets moving both ways. He would not be the feature asset in that trade. He would be included. There is a broad spectrum of possibilities here. It’s not that simple. I’m willing to look at a much bigger deal as well.
On feeling compelled to do something by the start of camp on Friday,
I’d say the chances of doing something by Friday are extremely remote. As soon as I get off this call, I’m going to the gym. I’m not sitting by the phone. I would guess this will go well into camp now. My guess is the tipping point in this saga is going to be when a team that is under pressure to win has an injury in training camp. That is probably going to be the next best point on the timeline where the player could move because these other deals involve other assets and I like our team. We were disappointed with our playoff performance last year like everybody was, but this is a group of players whose averaged 103 points the last three years. I’m not panicking and I’m not going to bust up this group. I respect what this group has accomplished and what they’ve done for us. I’m going to try to keep them largely intact. That is why some of these other deals don’t make sense. We have a lot of players on our team that other teams would like and there is a reason for that.
On holding off in signing Teemu Selanne,
That’s not something I would do right now. I have not spoken to Don Baizley (Teemu’s agent) since the news came that Mathieu had cleared waivers. I think Baizley is on an airplane to Sweden anyhow. I haven’t had any communication with him. I don’t intend to increase the pressure to make a deal by adding payroll between now and the start of the year. I’ll probably deal with this sequentially.
On any potential distractions in training camp involving this,
None, zero. I expect everybody to behave professionally. These players are highly compensated. They understand exactly what is going on. We gave Mathieu Schneider an excellent opportunity last summer. That’s the least of my worries is how Mathieu Schneider is going to act. He’s a great guy and a good hockey player. Not only have I not thought about, no one on our staff has even raised it. We think the world of Mathieu Schneider.
I don’t think it is ideal. We don’t live in a perfect world. You never start the season with every piece on the chess board right where you want it. In this case, we took our best shot at making sure that this situation was resolved before training camp. We tried the trade route very hard, felt we exhausted it and had come up against a wall. We tried the waiver route, thinking there was a good statistical shot at it and now we go back to plan A. We were on plan A. We didn’t see a deal we liked, although there were numerous proposals. We tried plan B. Now, we’ll go back to plan A. The fact that the dates don’t line up perfectly, like they say in the movies ‘boo hoo.’ It’s never a perfect scenario. We’d like to have this dealt with before camp if possible, but I don’t see any way this gets resolved between now and Friday when we’ve already spent hundreds of man hours on this very topic. It’s basically occupied the bulk of my time for the last month.
On the possibility of re-entry waivers with Schneider,
It’s not an option at this point. There is no plan at this point to try to lose Mathieu Schneider on re-entry waivers and pay half of his salary while he plays for another team. That is not part of the plan.
Moving Mathieu Schneider is not going to be a problem. We just haven’t seen a deal that we like that has lined up on all points.
There is no issue with Mathieu Schneider on our team. It’s just where we are and what he makes, what makes the most sense. He is an excellent hockey player and a great guy. It’s not like I wake up in the morning and say ‘How do I get rid of Mathieu Schneider?’ I wake up in the morning and say ‘How do I solve my cap problem?’ Big difference. I wish I could do it without involving Mathieu Schneider. I don’t see a way to do that, but I wish I could.