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Thrashers acquire Schneider from Ducks

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ATLANTA (AP) -Don Waddell and the Atlanta Thrashers got a big boost on Friday, thanks to the NHL salary cap.

The Thrashers acquired two-time All-Star defenseman Mathieu Schneider from Anaheim for defenseman Ken Klee and forwards Brad Larsen and Chad Painchaud.

Schneider had been expecting a trade as Anaheim general manager Brian Burke sought to move his team under the salary cap.

Waddell, Atlanta's general manager, said his team was fortunate to have cap room for Schneider.

"It worked to our benefit, the opportunity to add a player of this caliber with a team that was up against the cap and had to make a move to get under the cap," Waddell said. "It's a big day for our franchise."

The 39-year-old Schneider had 12 goals and 39 points in 65 games last season, his lone season with the Ducks. He will make $5.75 million this season, giving the Ducks a salary-cap savings of at least $3 million in the deal.

"I've known for some time that I was going to be moved," Schneider said in a telephone interview. "Brian was tremendous, working with my agent, trying to get a deal done. ... This morning I was extremely happy to hear the news."

Schneider said he would catch a late flight to Atlanta on Friday night and take his physical on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Klee played one season for the Thrashers, finishing with 10 points with one goal and nine assists in 72 games. He also has played for Washington, Toronto, New Jersey and Colorado in his 13 NHL seasons.

The 31-year-old Larsen had 15 goals and 17 assists since he was acquired by the Thrashers off waivers from Colorado on Feb. 24, 2004.

Painchaud, 22, was a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft. Last season, he played 22 games for Chicago in the AHL and 10 games for Gwinnett in the ECHL.

Schneider has 212 goals and 490 assists in 1,197 regular-season games in 19 seasons with Montreal, the New York Islanders, Toronto, the New York Rangers, Los Angeles, Detroit and Anaheim. He helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in 1992-93.

Atlanta tied Tampa Bay for last in the league with a 3.24 goals-against average.

Waddell made defenseman Zach Bogosian the No. 3 overall pick in the NHL draft and signed free agent defenseman Ron Hainsey. He said he was only looking to add a player who could move in at the top of his team's depth chart.

"We've said all along, we had enough bodies," Waddell said. "If we were going to bring anybody in, we had to push bodies down. This trade does that."

Waddell said the addition of Schneider wouldn't affect Bogosian's chances of making the team.

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