Ducks sign Mathieu Schneider

I cannot believe that the Ducks have already signed defenseman Mathieu Schneider. Wow.

If Scott Niedermayer does not retire, they are just stacked on the blueline. Seriously.

“Scott Niedermayer has informed me that he is leaning toward retirement,” said Ducks GM Brian Burke in a team statement Sunday.

“Typical of his character and leadership, he made the call this morning in order to allow us to make alternative plans in the event he does not return. Although he has not retired and would be welcomed back, we felt adding another top NHL defenseman was critical to defending our championship. Mathieu Schneider fits into that category and will be a great addition to our team.”

The contract is only for two years at $5.5 and $5.75 million. That offer was more than Holland was previously willing to offer.

Mathieu Schneider’s days as a Wing are over. The defenseman has signed a two-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks, paying him $5.5 million and $5.75 million, numbers that were too rich for the Wings. Detroit might now turn its attention to Brian Rafalski of New Jersey or re-sign Danny Markov.

The Ducks now have their replacement for Scott Niedermayer, who apprently will retire as was rumored. Schneider is coming off two of the best seasons of his career and has moved around a lot. The Ducks will be his sixth team (Montreal, Rangers, Islanders, Toronto, Los Angeles, Detroit). He lives in Southern California is in the off-season.

Now, the Wings need another top-three defenseman. In addition to Rafalski and Markov, Sheldon Souray, Roman Hamrlik and Brad Stuart are still out there.

Schneider obviously likes the Ducks chances of returning to the SCF this upcoming season and he spends his offseason in Malibu, California anyways to work out with Chris Chelios’ trainer, TR Goodman.

The Wings spent the past week furiously trying to re-sign the 38-year-old offensive defenseman, but to no avail. From Schneider’s point of view, this is an ideal situation – he is now near his off-season home in Southern California, and he is no longer has to deal with coach Mike Babcock, with whom he didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye.

Free agency began at noon today, and Schneider is the first “big-name” signing. The Wings have known for a while he was going to test the market, and so had backups plans ready for today. They looked at free agent Brian Rafalski, but he’s apparently seeking Kimmo Timonen-like money – in the $6-million plus range – and the Wings can’t really swing that. They’ve already got their one high-prized defenseman, and that’s Nicklas Lidstrom.

Other alternatives include Sheldon Souray, though he’s a defensive liability and probably also too expensive; Andy Sutton, Brad Stuart and Tom Preissing.

Ted Kulfan at the Detroit News isn’t happy with Schneider leaving for Anaheim.

Thinking about it, I’m not sure who this devastates more, that is, Schneider leaving the Wings….The Wings lose a quality defenseman, while the Detroit media loses one of the most quotable athletes in this area in recent memory. A good guy, too. But he lives near Anaheim, and he got a heckuva contract. Good for him.

Update: Apparently, Schneider was offered at least $1 million more from the Ducks than he did the Wings. Plus, he didn’t think it was a hard decision to sign with Anaheim.

There was never really a decision to be made as far as our negotiations. Ken [Holland] made a lot of great overtures. They were obviously tremendous to me. There was never really a time where I thought it was a tough decision to make. We just weren’t on the same page. I feel very comfortable in the decision I made for me and my family.

I hope [Scotty] does not retire. I think we’re a better team with him. But if he does, more power to him.

I just turned 38, but I still feel like I’m in my 20s. I love showing up to the rink every night. As far as I’m concerned, I want to play till I’m Chris Chelios’ age.

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2 Responses to “Ducks sign Mathieu Schneider”

  1. [...] opening of the unrestricted free agent signing period began with a bang as Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi headed west for Anaheim and Brian Rafalski joined the Red [...]

  2. [...] The Wings certainly felt his loss during the playoffs when he suffered a broken wrist. He signed a two year deal with the Ducks and will be making a total of $11.25 million. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Schneider [...]

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