9.26.2008

Schneider A Member of the Thrash

That title sounds so much like he's part of a band...

Anyways, Matt Schneider was traded to Atlanta for Ken Klee, Brad Larsen, and Chad Painchaud. James Mirtle has the more important financial details here, but I'm more into the impact side of things.

First of all, everyone knows that Atlanta was pretty dang weak on defense. Young prospect Zach Bogosian was nearly guaranteed playing time before he signed a contract, and Ron Hainsey was sure to run the top pairing with Toby Enstrom.

However, after acquiring Schneider, the Thrashers blueline will look much better. Enstrom and Schneider form a formidable offensive duo, while Ron Hainsey and Niclas Havelid could make a good shutdown pair. Bogosian will slide into the spot of the departed Ken Klee, and should learn a few tips from Garnet Exelby about defensive play, and smashing people into the boards (An Exelby trademark). Of course, the pairings could also be switched up. Enstrom and Hainsey could still make a good pair, one strong offensively and the other a little stronger in the defensive zone, and Schneider might make a good mentor for Bogosian on the second line. Exelby and Havelid could be great together, but Havelid's new contract doesn't spell third pairing time.

Another improvement Schneider should provide is a point man to run the powerplay. Tobias Enstrom is a little young for the job, but should run the second unit quite nicely. Schneider's overall offensive support will help out the club, which finished 22nd in the NHL in goals-per-game, to at least slightly improve on that number.

As a little side note, Schneider hasn't participated in any training camp, and won't get much time to adjust to Atlanta's system before they stick him in the lineup for a pre-season game.

First Pre-season Home Game

Ok, I'm trying to calm down and remember that this is the pointless pre-season, but a large part of me instinctively wants to explode and criticize the Stars simply for losing to the Avs.

I'll restrain myself, for now.

However, it was an interesting game. Stars fans in attendance got to see goaltender Matt Climie for (most likely) the first time, and although he gave up two goals in the third period, it's hard to expect a better performance for a guy who was with Bemidji State University (where?) last season. And, if he can bring his college game (14-8-3 in 27 games with 5 shutouts) to the NHL, the Stars might continue a tradition of strong goaltenders with Climie and 2008 pick Tyler Beskarowany.

Also interesting to note was the signings of defensemen Trevor Ludwig and Guillame Monast. Although neither is very likely to make the NHL in the next couple of seasons, it'll be interesting to track their progress.

Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro scored the two goals for the Stars, who lost the game 4-2. Now, I'm curious as to why those two are in the pre-season games. Sure, they can help gain a win, but that's not what I would think matters in the pre-season. The main event of these games is to see how ready certain prospects are when it comes to receiving NHL time. The pre-season can also unveil players who went undrafted, or were forgotten late round picks. I'd rather see Morrow and Ribeiro give the Stars wins in the regular season, and watch the play of young prospects like Ondrej Roman, Colton Sceviour, Climie, and Ludwig.

A few other noteworthy items:

- Claude Lemieux is reportedly attempting a comeback to the NHL or AHL. Say what??? Yes, folks, CLAUDE LEMIEUX. The original Sean Avery, for those of you who hate Avery's tactics. I can't imagine that any team would sign a player who hasn't played in the NHL since 2003, and hasn't played professional hockey since 2004. I first saw this in a blog from someone who was at James Mirtle's live blog (sorry that I can't remember who it was, or I would've linked it) but I was reminded of it today after seeing it on www.thehockeynews.com. Obviously, no team has expressed an interest in signing Lemieux, and I doubt anyone will. Seriously, the guy is 43! The only people who could even be allowed to play at that age are Gordie Howe and Chris Chelios, and Claude's career was nowhere near their level. Now, if this was Mario Lemieux, who's only been retired since 05-06, I could see it happening. But Claude "The Turtle" Lemiuex? He'll be lucky to get an SPHL tryout.

UPDATE: I believe the blog that I first saw the story of Lemieux's attempted comeback was in two-linepass's blog. Check it out, he's got some interesting views on it as well.

- Viktor Tihkonov scored for Phoenix in a 3-1 'Yotes loss to Calgary last night, showing he might be a little more prepared for the NHL than most people are guessing. However, he'll likely just earn an AHL job for at least the start of the season.

That's all for this post, but I'll add posts later if anything of note comes up.