With the Anaheim Ducks still taking a slight hit in the financial department due to Todd Bertuzzi, and still suffering a lack of money to sign people needed, the question arises in Orange County: “Who is next?”
Although saying “it will without a doubt be so-and-so” is plain stupid—especially since I never saw the Bertuzzi drop coming—it seems most logical financially for the Ducks to dump aging defenseman Mathieu Schneider. Schneider, the oldest player on the team at age 39, will collect $5.75 million in 2008-09.
He is undoubtedly worth the money—but not in the Ducks organization. Many teams would find value in Schneider. His age is a non-factor, as he seems to be one of those players that, like a fine wine, have gotten better with age.
Even just by looking north on the I-5, we can find a team who could find value in Schneider—the Los Angeles Kings. Schneider has already played many years with the Kings. Currently, the Kings are adopting a "win now, and at all costs" attitude, which would make adding Schneider a good call for them as well.
I’m not saying this is what the Ducks will do, it is merely a scenario. I highly doubt they would trade a great blue-liner like Schneider to the crosstown-rival Kings, but moving him would certainly be a win for everyone involved.
For the Ducks, moving Schneider frees up money to sign free agents and the ability to begin developing their young defensemen, such as Brian Salcido. For Schneider, it would provide him the ability to be a top defenseman, rather than remaining in Anaheim as a third or fourth guy.
Most of all, the team acquiring Schneider gets a defenseman with tons of experience and talent. Schneider is worth every dime of his salary, as a man who even at 39 years old is capable of being the top defenseman. Any team in the NHL would improve from his presence. In Anaheim, he provided a great amount of depth on the blue line.
Unfortunately it seems he needs to leave, not because we don’t want him or need him, but more because we can’t afford him and the others we need to re-sign. For Ducks fans, we know at the end of the day Brian Burke will do what it best, he sees things in the budget we can’t.
Maybe Burke will find a way to keep Schneider and sign all the guys we need. That would be nice, but I won’t get my hopes up.
*Salary Figures are Courtesy of nhlnumbers.com
Image: found here