Earlier this afternoon, the Thrashers acquired Mathieu Schneider from Anaheim for Ken Klee, Brad Larsen and Chad Painchaud.
My initial thoughts are that I like the deal for both teams. Anaheim unloads a $5.75 million salary to get under the cap. Plus, they free up enough room to likely make a contract offer to fan favorite Teemu Selanne, the reason Schneider was moved.
For Atlanta, they take on additional payroll, but not past this season. They get a former all-star who should be a great mentor for some of the younger defensemen including Boris Valabik, Zach Bogosian and Grant Lewis. They also get a powerplay point man.
Klee is very replaceable. I thought he was serviceable for most of last season. But I guess I expected a little more flash, especially with his plus/minus numbers in Colorado. Steady is a good word to describe him and I'm sure he'll be just that in Anaheim.
Larsen was a pick-up from Colorado back during the Bob Hartley era who played for the former Thrashers head coach in Denver. He played honest and hard. But the Thrashers have a glut of third and fourth line forwards and he was easily expendable as a throw-in player.
Painchaud is a bit of a wild card, but was a long way from making the NHL roster. No big loss here.
Getting back to Schneider for a moment......his acquisition might actually aid the youth movement on the blueline without rushing the movement on the blueline.
Confused? Let me explain.
As I mentioned earlier, he'll come to Atlanta and instantly become a mentor to some of the young blueliners. Should general manager Don Waddell no re-sign him next summer, it will free up an additional spot for another young defenseman, say Arturs Kulda. so I think there are plenty of reasons why this is a good deal for the Thrashers.
Schneider had not been participating in Anaheim's training camp, so his conditioning could be in question. I doubt he'll play Sunday in Detroit. Look for him to make his Atlanta debut at one of the home pre-season games next week.