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Schneider A Thrasher

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I already laid the reasons why I thought the team should acquire Mathieu Schneider in this post, if you missed it take a look.

Kevin Allen suggested that the Thrashers might get Bobby Ryan as part of the trade but obviously that did not happen. My guess is that the Thrashers asked for Ryan and Schneider and then waited, but Anaheim would not do it, so we made the next best deal.

Essentially the Thrashers add roughly $4 in salary once you subtract out Ken Klee going in the other direction. (Larsen's salary will be replaced by a kid making roughly the same amount of money--so no $ savings there.)

What are the repercussions of the Schnedier trade?

I was bullish on Bogosian and Valabik BOTH making the squad out of camp. Before the Thrashers needed his $4 million cap hit to get above the salary floor but now with Schneider's nearly $6 million salary they are comfortably over the limit. To be frank the history of 18 year old defensemen in the NHL is not very inspiring. Plus if you bring Bogosian to the NHL at 18 you speed up the date at which he is eligible for unrestricted free agency (age 27 or 7 NHL seasons whichever comes first under the CBA).

So here are the questions the Thrashers brass must answer? Is it in the long and short term interests of the team to keep Bogosian in the NHL at age 18? Is it better to play someone like Grant Lewis instead and return Bogosian to the OHL? Or is the team better off by claiming some like Sydor off waivers (assuming he is waived) or signing Malik?

Assuming the Thrashers fail to reach the playoffs, Schneider could be flipped at the deadline for a high draft pick or prospect. Perhaps as high as a 2nd rounder. By the trade deadline Schneider will only have about $1 million plus due and a number of contenders could squeeze him under the cap at that point. What team wouldn't like to add a puck moving defenseman to perk up their PP going into the playoffs?

The other repercussion of this deal is that youth is likely to be served. The Thrashers may carry two rookies on defense (Valabik and Bogosian or Lewis) and Brad Larsen's spot will likely go to a rookie such as someone like Colin Stuart, or Jordan LaValle, etc.

Larsen always played hard but he really ceased to be an effectively penalty killer for the Thrashers and he scored almost no points at even strength last year. To borrow from baseball, his ES scoring rate was below the "Mendoza Line" of 1 point per hour of ES ice time. In plain English, his offense was so poor it was like sticking a guy who only bats .180 in your lineup--the Thrashers could do better by playing someone from their farm system. Larsen had ceased to be an asset defensively and his offense was simply not good.

The last repercussion of this deal is that this bumps the Thrashers a bit closer to being a playoff contender. I'll redo my projections soon and give you a more precise estimate, but earlier I pegged the Thrashers as a 83-85 points. If Schneider moves them say 4 standing points that makes the new Thrashers lineup closer to the 87-89 points--in most years you need around 94-95 to make the post-season. The upshot? I still consider the team unlikely to get in, but with Schneider they need less luck than they did without Schneider.

OK I lobbied for adding Schneider and the Thrashers did it--kudos for stepping up and making this team better at the price of the salary. This an addition with VERY little cost to the team in terms of assets. I'm MUCH more excited about this team now. Schneider isn't just a nice player, he has been an elite offensive player in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to see that Atlanta power play now, Ilya Kovalchuk meet Mathieu Schneider!

EDIT: Did anyone else see this in Mike Knobler's AJC article? "Long careers and the title "defenseman" are just about the only things Schneider and Klee have in common. Schneider has had 50 or more points in two of the three most recent seasons." ZING!