According to TSN, the Montreal Canadiens have made the first move of the much anticipated trade deadline frenzy. Bob Gainey has acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider from the Atlanta Trashers in exchange for 2nd and 3rd round picks.
Update: TSN is now reporting that the 2nd round pick is in 2009, while the 3rd round pick is in 2010. There is also a conditional pick heading back Montreal’s way.
Although Schneider carries a hefty $5.625M cap hit, the transferring of injured center Robert Lang to the long-term injured reserve cleared the $4M in cap space Montreal required to make this trade happen.
Upon first glance, this certainly looks like a steep price to pay for a 39 year old defenseman with just 15 points in 44 games played. But due to Montreal’s recent slide, Gainey may have been under pressure to make something happen sooner. Good on Waddell to turn an asset that he acquired for peanuts earlier in the season (to bail Burke out of cap trouble) into a quality return.
You can now cross Schneider’s name off the already short list of “quality” defensemen available. It seems that Kubina, Kaberle, Kuba, and maybe Bouwmeester are the few top notch puck moving blueliners still on the market, so look for their respective prices to go up. This deal has likely set the market price for two of Toronto’s top assets, and boy does it look pretty.
Now it’s time for Burke to roll up his sleeves, pick up the phone and say: “Holy (bleep)! Did you see what Schneider just got? Now about that counter offer…”
Always a pleasure,