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Mathieu Schneider Dealt to Montreal

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Thrasher defensemen Mathieu Schneider has been dealt for a 2nd and 3rd round pick to Montreal. My quick and dirty take on this is that Waddell got a fair return on his investment. You can look at this deal two ways: 1) how much impact did Schneider have on the on-ice performance of the Thrashers? 2) How much impact will Schneider have on the future play of the Thrashers?

Talent/Development Angle

When Schneider was acquired during NHL Training Camp I had hoped that he would do three things for the Thrashers: a) improve the Thrashers power play and ability to break out from their own zone; b) help mentor 18 year old uber prospect Zach Bogosian; c) earn a 1st round draft pick at the deadline if the Thrashers were out of the playoff hunt--well two out of three ain't bad.

During the 2008-09 season Schneider certainly did well at mentoring Bogosian and he certainly helped the Thrashers breakout. His contribution on the power play was much less than I had expected. His points where down sharply despite receiving extensive PP ice time.

In years past the Thrashers power play became predictable and ineffective when other players waited around for Kovalchuk to fire his slapshot. Schneider was certainly not afraid to take open shots which was a welcome change. Unfortunately, Schneider's shot was accurate but not swift enough to beat many goalies. With a Tomas Holmstrom type screening the goalie Schneider would have been much more effective in Atlanta, but the Thrashers lack a consistent goalie screener.

Overall Schneider had a rough start in October. He looked like a guy who missed training camp and was playing for a new team. Many Thrasher fans let the first month color their opinion of him for the full season, but in fact if you look at things like Corsi numbers and Zone Shift, Mathieu Schneider helped the Thrashers move the puck out of their own end and he helped apply pressure to the opposition net minder.

Personally I think he helped the team on the ice, but not as much as I expected. If he had been more productive in terms of scoring he likely would have brought a 1st rounder instead of a 2nd rounder.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Schneider's cap hit was rather large at $5.7 million which scared off many teams. The Thrashers will not have to cover approximately $1.7 million of that cap hit now. When you consider that Klee and Larsen combined had a cap hit of nearly $2 million the Thrashers ended up renting Schneider for just over an additional $2 million (plus they got Larsen off the roster). 

So the marginal cost of an additional $2 million they upgraded from Klee to Schneider (and I say that as someone who liked Ken Klee when he was here). The team gained a mentor for Bogosian's rookie year and then they received a 2nd and 3rd round draft picks.

Adding Schneider was a good move and trading Schneider will also help this organization build long term asests. It would have been nice to get an additional 1st rounder, but many NHL players come out of the 2nd round. Overall the Schneider sojourn in Atlanta was a net plus for the organization.