Deal Jussi? You must be Jokinen

Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke finally cleared the salary of defenseman Mathieu Schneider off his books, but he may not be done dealing in the finals days of the pre-season.

By trading Schneider and his $5.625 million cap hit to the Atlanta Thrashers, Burke was able to get under the NHL’s $56.7 million salary cap for the upcoming season. However, he had to take on nearly $2 million in salary by acquiring defenseman Ken Klee and left winger Brad Larsen as part of the deal.

After the deal, the Ducks were left with roughly $1.4 million in cap space, leaving them little room to sign veteran right winger Teemu Selanne and still have enough available cap space for any other potential player moves during the season.

Burke told the local media he has several options and another potential trade could be among them. Those options take on additional urgency in the wake of Burke signing Selanne to a two-year $5.25 million contract and pushing the Ducks about $1.225 million over the cap, again.

Veteran center Todd Marchant has been mentioned in trade rumors over the summer, but his no-trade clause and $2.5 million salary could keep him in Anaheim. Burke could try flipping Klee to a team seeking an experienced stay-at-home defenseman.

He could also consider demoting promising young right winger Bobby Ryan as he would not have to pass through waivers, but it is believed Burke would prefer to keep Ryan on his roster.

• The St. Louis Blues could be in the market for experienced blueline depth after losing talented young defenseman Erik Johnson to a knee injury for the entire 2008-09 season.

Johnson tore two ligaments in a freak accident during a golf tournament whilst exiting his golf cart, sidelining him for six to nine months.

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It will be difficult to replace Johnson’s skills. The club could look within for help, but it is also possible they could look toward the trade or unrestricted free agent markets for affordable replacements.

The Blues were thought to be interested in Schneider prior to his trade to Atlanta, but may have balked at his salary.

• A recent report out of Chicago suggested the Blackhawks might be among several clubs interested in Capitals center Michael Nylander.

The Blackhawks are now lacking experienced depth at center in the wake of dealing Robert Lang to the Montreal Canadiens in mid-September, and while management is looking to its own system to fill the gap, that has not put to rest speculation they are shopping for a veteran center.

It is possible some teams have interest in Nylander, but it is unlikely he’s available. He recently told the Washington Post he enjoyed playing and living in Washington and noted the no-movement clause in his contract.

• Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jussi Jokinen was the subject of summer-long trade speculation, but his performance in training camp could keep him with the team.

The Bolts reportedly wish to reduce their payroll and Jokinen, Michel Ouellet and Jason Ward are considered potential trade candidates.

Jokinen, however, has performed well in pre-season action and prompted head coach Barry Melrose to speak to team management about keeping him.

It remains to be seen if Melrose’s vote of confidence carries any weight as Jokinen’s strong camp performance could also attract more attention from rival clubs on the trade market. 

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for and Eishockey Magazine.