The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim promised some minor deals this trade deadline and General Manager Pierre Gauthier delivered with the dealings of minor leaguers. The most notable of these players is Johan Davidsson.
The team dealt the once highly touted Davidsson to the Islanders for rookie and Euro veteran Jorgen Jonsson, the older brother of Isles captain Kenny Jonsson. The trade was a statement from Gauthier that the team needed help now not for the future as they try to squak into the playoffs.
Jonsson is having a highly productive season, scoring 11 goals in his first NHL season. He has been projected as a possible second line center down the road. For now though, the Ducks could use his skill. A strong skater and good playmaker, his abilities should add some depth overall to a team that lacks consistency.
One of the key selling points is Jonsson’s strong penalty-killing. He racked up two shorthanded goals with the Isles and since the Ducks have struggled all year shorthanded, he will be a welcomed addition. Anothe selling point is his good speed which fits in perfectly for the fleet footed Ducks team. As an added bonus, Jonsson is good defensively which is perfect for Coach Craig Harstburg who has preached team defense to his team this season.
The one obvious concern with Jonsson is whether he will stay in the NHL or go back to the Swedish Elite League. During his time on Long Island, reports out of Europe surfaced, reporting that Jonsson was unhappy over here. He deliberately signed a one-year contract this off season to see how he would enjoy the NHL. Reports say that he and his wife are unhappy in the States and would like to go back to Europe. Of course, that’s when he was on the Island, and most of the North American’s don’t wanna play there either. Those reports apparently made the Isles look at trading Jonsson and when the Ducks offered Davidsson and a conditional draft pick, it was too good to pass up for Mike Milbury.
Jonsson is a bargain this year with a contract paying him $600,000. The Ducks were expected to pick up much of it if not all of the salary. If Jonsson does decide to come back after being traded, he would be in line for a large raise which could raise the ire of the Disney brass.
Davidsson, on the other hand, had obviously dropped out of favor with the Ducks organization. Once looked at as a possible center for Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, his stock had dropped considerably. He had a disappointing rookie year, mainly playing on checking lines and lost his job at training camp this season to Mike Leclerc.
While he played well in the AHL this year, it wasn’t enough to keep him with the Ducks. He played five games with Anaheim while on recall and played admirably. Somewhat fittingly, in his last game with Anaheim, he scored the only goal in a 1-0 game against Nashville.
The Ducks are confident they can replace Davidsson especially since they now see him as a third liner at best. The team feels he is a “clone” of Antti Aalto and Mikael Holmqvist anyways so he was deemed replacable and the lure of Jonsson was too much to pass up.
TREBIL TRADED TO PENS
The Ducks second deal involving a depth player was dealing defenseman Dan Trebil to Pittsburgh for a fith round draft pick. Trebil started off having a solid year in Cincinnati but had leveled off as of late. He was an AHL all-star this season and was considered one of the best defensman in the AHL early this year. Since the Ducks are deep at defense, there was little risk giving Trebil up although he may blossom in Pittsburgh.
Trebil has been struggling to make the NHL since his strong rookie season when he impressed many in 1997. The Ducks thought he wasn’t physical enough when you compare him to his big frame. A 6-4, 200 pound d-man is hard to find but he often seemed to forget just how big he was. He was also criticized for his skating ability. While Trebil was mobile, he was often called as having “concrete tied to his skates” signaling his slow speed.
The Pens liked Trebil for several reasons. They loved his size and more importanly, they wanna use him on the power play. Pens GM Craig Patrick plans to keep Trebil around in the NHL for the time being instead of sending him to Wilkes-Barre. They are expected to give him a chance to play on a regular basis. “I wish everyone was 212 (pounds). He’s not going to play the type of (physical) game Janne (Laukkanen, also newly acquired) will, but he’s got good skill, good mobility. And he’s another right-handed shot, which we’ve been coveting for a while,” said Patrick. Trebil is also looked at as expansion draft insurance for the Pens.
The Ducks made two other deadline deals, both for future considerations. They picked up grinder Ed Ward from Atlanta and goaltender Corey Hirsch from Nashville as expansion draft insurance. Ward joined Anaheim immediately while Hirsch stayed with Utah of the IHL.
HAVELID BACK FROM INJURIES
Niclas Havelid has recovered from a broken finger and is expected to start playing for Anaheim again shortly. The rookie had been quite impressive averaging between 15 and 20 minutes per night. He was sent to Cincy for a two game conditioning stint and then was re-examined. He was deemed healthy and ready to play for Anaheim.
Just where he will play is unclear. The Ducks currently have 25 men on their roster (not counting emergency callup Gregg Naumenko) including nine defensemen although one, Pascal Trepanier, is on injured reserve. One possibility is rotating Havelid with fellow rookie Vitaly Vishnevski.