This is the scene I imagine took place late last night...
: You may be wondering why I called you all over here. Well, as you all know, my *ahem* good buddy Burkie is desperately trying to clear cap space by moving defenseman Mathieu Schneider so that he can sign Teemu Selanne. Well, you all did a great job with Phase 1 one of Operation: Duck Soup by not offering a reasonable deal, but we're not out of the woods yet. I know many of you could use a defenseman of Schneider's caliber, but we must stay strong and remain a united front on Phase 2 - do NOT pick him up off waivers! If no one does, he will certainly recall him and then not only can one of you get a great powerplay quaterback for your team, but then Brian Puke - errr, Burke's club will also have to pay for a player who's not even on his team! HAHAHAHAHA!
: Uh, with the way Dustin Penner played like half his former self last season, weren't you kind of paying for a player that didn't show up on your roster? (Sorry, had to)
: ...We must not forget the topic at hand! Operation: Duck Soup is almost complete, and when it is that Brian Puke is gonna wish he never - UGH, I HATE HIM! I HATE HIM!
: Now, are you all with me?!
: Uh, yeah, I guess so.
: Excellent... Excellent...
In all seriousness, however, it appears the other 29 GMs have recognized Burke's position - between a rock and and a hard place - and have collectively decided "why lose assets in a trade or pick him up off waivers at full price when I can get him for half-off on re-entry waivers?"
Of course, there's still the possibility of Phase 3 of Duck Soup being implemented, that being the plan for all GMs to not even pick him up off re-entry waivers so that the Ducks are stuck with Schneider's salary and have to move someone of more value in order to even get under the cap, let alone sign Selanne. And yes, even if they left him chopping it up in Iowa, his full $5.625M would still count against the cap, not to mention be quite unfair to Mathieu.
As much as I love both Scotty and Teemu, to all of those who argue last year's situation was the Ducks taking advantage of a loophole to rest their vets (I can't imagine why the Ducks would purposefully sit their best defenseman and top goal-scorer for half a season), here's just one result of that situation that proves that wasn't just a tactic that winded up not helping anyone. Well, except maybe the other NHL teams.
***FINAL UPDATE (9/18/08)***
As Andy Strickland and many Duck fans have since noted, Brian Burke has told Dan Wood at the OC Register that he does not plan on placing Schneider on re-entry waivers. Instead, he will continue to try to trade the 39-year-old blueliner, who will now be in the awkward position of attending the training camp of a team that he (hopefully) won't start the regular season with.
In the meantime, Teemu Selanne will have to continue to wait for this issue to be resolved and will likely not attend training camp until he has a "standard" (i.e. not a pro tryout) contract. Naturally, Burke will not offer such a contract until Schneider is moved, as it would only put even more pressure on the Ducks to get a deal done and possibly diminish the value of any trade's return as a result.
If Burke can't find that magical "deal that makes sense," he may even be forced to move a different member of the roster, but hopefully we won't even see that bridge, let alone cross it.
When defenseman Mathieu Schneider signed with the Ducks last summer, one of the reasons may have been the waves of the Southern California beaches he once enjoyed as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Little did he know that the next off-season he'd be riding a different kind of "wave" - the waiver wire.
According to both Eklund and Kevin Allen of USA Today
, Anaheim was not able to make a deal that was agreeable for both parties with any of the interested clubs and was thus forced to put a solid powerplay quarterback on waivers.
The shock value of this news is only slightly dampened for Ducks fans by having gone through a similar situation early last season with goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryz proved that he could no longer be considered a backup, so Burke had no choice but to look for a potential trading partner. At the time it appeared that LA, Phoenix and Tampa Bay were all in need of a goalie who could be a true #1, yet somehow a trade never materialized with any of those clubs. Eventually, Burke kept his word to the Russian netminder and found him a new home in the desert by placing him on waivers.
Now, even with teams like Montreal, New Jersey and the other clubs I mentioned in a previous blog
all in need of a defenseman of Schneider's caliber, a deal was again never reached. This begs a few questions: Was Burke asking for too much in return? Were the other teams offering too little? Is the inability to make a deal at this time tied to the Sundin situation?
Whatever the case is, #11 will surely be claimed by noon EST tomorrow; the only question is by whom?
According to my understanding - and please correct me if I'm wrong - the waiver claim order is the reverse order of finish in the previous season, meaning this is the order teams would get dibs on Schneider's services:
I've highlighted the teams that I suggested a trade to would make sense for both sides, while adding LA after some convincing from other Duck fans, media outlets, and pretty much everyone else in the hockey community. I still think the Kings would have no trouble meeting the cap floor without acquiring Schneids, but he would be a great mentor to guys like Johnson and Doughty. I also forgot the importance of location and family to a player, and obviously it would be good for Schneider if he could stay in SoCal and suit up for an organization that he's already familiar with.
Notice the location of the two teams linked to Mathieu most - they're both in the bottom five, and I can guarantee you that unless some behind-the-scenes politicking takes place, Schneider will have been long gone by then.
Right now my bet is on - ironically enough - the Kings, but don't count out the Islanders or Blue Jackets. No matter where he ends up, however, the last waves Mathieu Schneider will experience in Anaheim are the (potentially tearful) ones saying goodbye.