However, in the wake of tonight's thrashing (get it? ha!), I needed something for a smile and I found it, thanks to another Scott. With Mr. Niedermayer's decision to return to hockey, it opens up legion of possibilities throughout the league.
According to Eric Duhatschek of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Matt Schneider is likely to be moved by the Ducks. The full post is here but you have to wade through a longwinded story about Cindy and how we are supposed to feel bad for her because of all she has to deal with (20 years old, making $3.7 million ... yeah, I feel awful). Whatever, all you need to read is this:
Before they can activate Niedermayer, the Ducks need to trade away a player signed to a contract through to the end of the 2008-09 earning around $900,000 to make the salary-cap numbers work. It would be easiest to move defenceman Mathieu Schneider, for a whole lot of reasons: First, Schneider was signed as Niedermayer's replacement; with Niedermayer returning, the need to have him in the line-up is greatly reduced.
According to NHLNumbers.com, Schneider is making $5.50 mill this year and $5.75 next year. Take away the aforementioned $900k and that leaves 4.6 of freed space. As Duhatschek pointed out later in his piece, the Ducks need to resign Corey Perry. Ok, but he doesn't need a new deal until after next year. So what to do with that money ... hmmmm ...
As much as I would like to hand over Marek Malik's $2.5 mill contract, I don't think that a) the Rangers will part with him as long as they have Jagr and b) no one will take him. However, Paul Mara may work here. He makes $3 mill a year, can carry the puck and play serviceable defense should an injury bug hit the Ducks. Package Mara with a mid-round pick, and both teams are happy. The Ducks can get Niedermayer back in the line up, have added defensive depth and get an extra pick to use for their ace scouting staff. The Rangers, who have $2.5 mil of cap space now, would lose maneuvering room but would gain a power play quarterback who loves playing in New York.
Before being shown the door as a free agent back in 2000, Schneider said that "I'm sure the organization knows my first preference is to stay. I've never made a secret of the fact that this is where I want to be." So if Sather pulls the trigger on the deal and then makes nice, we get back a helluva player who will be happy to pull on the Rangers sweater. I, for one, loved having him here and saw that he was trapped on some underachieving, bad teams.
Having someone who is legitimately happy to be a Ranger (Sean Avery) means so much more than one who can care less (Jaromir Jagr). The passion and pride that they feel for carrying the Blueshirt banner translates into their on-ice play and that is what this team needs right now. Watching this droll, shadow of a team the last three games has made this blatantly apparent. So why not? Let's bring back Matt!