ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks have finally found a new home for Mathieu Schneider.
The NHL team dealt the veteran defenceman to the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday for blue-liner Ken Klee and wingers Brad Larsen and Chad Painchaud. Ducks GM Brian Burke has been trying to trade Schneider for weeks to help get his team under the salary cap.
Schneider is due to earn US$5.75 million this season – meaning Anaheim will save at least $3 million as a result of this deal. Klee ($1.25 million), Larsen ($560,000) and Painchaud ($565,000) will count $2.5 million against the cap if they all play in the NHL this season.
“It worked to our benefit, the opportunity to add a player of this calibre with a team that was up against the cap and had to make a move to get under the cap,” Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said. “It’s a big day for our franchise.”
The 39-year-old Schneider spent just one year with the Ducks, putting up 12 goals and 39 points in 65 games. He was signed last summer when it looked like Scott Niedermayer would retire and became expendable when the team captain decided to return mid-season.
The situation has unfolded amicably, with Schneider agreeing not to report to Anaheim’s training camp this week while the team was in negotiations for a trade.
“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.”
The well-travelled defenceman now enters his 19th season in the NHL with his eighth team. In 1,197 career regular season games, Schneider has 212 goals and 702 points. He also won the Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1993.
The 37-year-old Klee joins his fifth team since the NHL lockout. He spent all of last year with Atlanta and had one goal and 10 points in 72 games.
Larsen is a checking forward who won a Stanley Cup with Colorado Avalanche in 2002. The 31-year-old spent parts of the last four years with the Thrashers.
Painchaud is a former fourth-round draft choice who split last season between the ECHL and American Hockey League. The 22-year-old has yet to play an NHL game.