Thrashers trade defenceman Schneider to Canadiens Staff

2/16/2009 7:44:56 PM

The Atlanta Thrashers have traded defenceman Mathieu Schneider to his former team, the Montreal Canadiens.

In exchange, the Thrashers receive a second round draft pick in 2009 and a third round selection in 2010. In addition to Schneider, the Canadiens will receive a conditional draft pick from the Thrashers.

The draft pick is conditional on how far the Canadiens go in the playoffs.

If Montreal loses in the first round or doesn't make the playoffs, the Canadiens get a third-round pick from Atlanta.

If Montreal wins one round, it becomes a fourth round pick.

If Montreal wins two rounds or more, it becomes a fifth-round pick.

So it is a second round pick and a third round pick in exchange for Schneider and a conditional (3rd-5th) draft pick based on playoff performance.

In other words, if the Habs miss the playoffs or crash and burn in the first round, their price on Scheider is a second round pick.

"We were looking for a defenceman who could contribute offensively," explained general manager Bob Gainey in a media release. "Mathieu, an experienced player with a lot of offensive upside, will bring depth to our core group of defencemen and will be an asset on our power play."

Schneider previously played for the Canadiens from the 1989-90 season until 1995, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 1993.  He was traded to the Islanders in 1995.  He still has plenty of fond memories of his first stint in La Belle Province.

"It was a special time for me," Schneider told THE CANADIAN PRESS. "Some of the best years of my career were in Montreal. The organization has always been I think at the top of the NHL. It's a team that everyone aspires to be like.

"There's just so much pride in the Canadiens in the city. Being a part of that is really something special."

"He is a good passer. He can define the play he wants to make and execute it. He'll need assistance," Gainey said. "Like any player, he'll need a good partner to help him out of tight spots. He'll bring experience. He'll bring excitement about returning to Montreal."

This season, the New York native has 4 goals and 11 assists in 44 games.

To make room for Schneider, the Canadiens sent down defenceman Ryan O'Byrne to Hamilton of the American Hockey League.

The 39 year-old was selected in the third round (44th overall) of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.  A well-traveled veteran, Schneider has had stints with the Canadiens, Islanders, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Kings, Red Wings, Ducks and Thrashers.