I'll refrain from tossing any Stan Lee Cup jokes here.
Well, likely in the next week or so we should get a better handle on what's in store for next year's Anaheim squad, but if my salary cap math is right, the prospect of the Ducks keeping Schneider-man this year looks shaky at best.
Still, I think it's worth writing a post to point out that aside from timing, the Schneider and Bertuzzi situations are completely different. Mathieu Schneider had a great year on Anaheim's blueline last year, whereas Bertuzzi's year was a flop, and here's some Behind the Net stats to help show Schneider-man's side of the story.
- Even-Strength: BTN has Schneider posted as Anaheim's 2nd-best even-strength performer, though he did have fairly easy competition (3rd-easiest) and teammates (6th-easiest) in the process. His 1.27 GAON/60 was the 2nd-best defensive rate on the team. Basically, Schneider was killing easy opposition at even-strength -- after Scott returned from retirement Schneider had a stretch of nearly three months without any minus-rating games.
- Power Play: BTN is harsher here; Schneider is 9th-best on the team for PP ratings, though there's a lot of good scoring rates for the players in front of him. Things were a bit awkward for Schneider adapting to the Anaheim power play, which for years had been accustomed to a non-shooting point man in Scott Niedermayer, who for all his talent is still a pretty weak shooting option. While Schneider brought a much better shot to the unit, the PP didn't click as envisioned without the sniping of Selanne and the roaming of Niedermayer. Still, Schneider's numbers were fine, and he certainly brings talent and experience that could boost a lot of PP units around the league.
- Penalty Kill: Schneider didn't play a huge role in the Ducks' PK, but he did rank 4th-best on the team in his limited minutes. He was helped by usually facing other teams' 2nd units, but he didn't buckle when called upon.
Even though I tend to speak fatally as to Schneider's Duck future, I should stress that I'm playing GM from an internet's distance -- who knows what silliness Brian Burke has in store? Perhaps he's pursuing a different angle to hit the budget another way -- a solution that I don't have enough imagination for. As the numbers show, keeping Schneider is a fine option if it's affordable, so I'll let Burkie do his business and see what emerges. Now at least we have a salary framework to think about; let's see some Burke magic.