Trade's all about bucks for Ducks

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

How the Mighty have fallen -- at least on the payroll side.

Trying to cut some salary, Anaheim Mighty Ducks GM Brian Burke dealt Sergei Fedorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets yesterday and didn't get much in return.

With two more years and $12.16 million (all terms US) left on his deal ($6.08 million this year), Fedorov was packaged with a fifth-round draft pick in exchange for Tyler Wright and Francois Beachemin.

"(Fedorov) was shocked when he heard the news, even if there were rumours," said IMG Hockey agent Pat Brisson, who added Fedorov will debut tonight against the Blues. "But, he's excited by the move and he's looking forward to the challenge."

In the new world of the $39-million salary cap, this was the first major move by any team. Wright makes $947,000 while Beachemin is pulling down $500,000.

Is this a gamble by an underachieving Columbus team? Perhaps, but GM Doug MacLean wasn't left with much choice with the Jackets struggling with injuries.

After signing defenceman Adam Foote as an unrestricted free agent, getting Rick Nash signed to a long-term deal and bringing in top prospect Gilbert Brule, the Jackets haven't lived up to expectations.

"We've lost a lot of one-goal games here," said MacLean. "We have so many young guys and I really felt like I needed to add a veteran guy to the mix. I talked to a lot of teams and this one kind of came out of the blue.

"I know Sergei pretty well. I worked with him for five years in Detroit and when I spoke to him on the phone tonight he was as excited as I've ever heard him. He's going to help young guys like Nash, Brule and Zherdev when we get healthy."

Nash struggled with an ankle problem to start the year and is out for at least another two weeks with a serious knee injury.

Brule is getting ready to return from a chest injury that has kept him out for an extended period and the word is he has looked good in practice.

The Jackets are hoping Fedorov can regain the magic that helped make him a Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings and it would appear that MacLean is willing to gamble his future on this.

MARCHANT ON MOVE?

Don't be surprised if the Jackets use Fedorov to centre a line with Nash (when he returns) and the struggling Nikolai Zherdev, who has reportedly been having a tough time dealing with personal issues.

Word Fedorov was going to be dumped by the Ducks first appeared in this space three weeks ago, but Ducks GM Brian Burke had insisted that wasn't going to happen.

Fedorov has played only five games this year because a groin injury slowed him to a crawl.

There haven't been many trades because approximately 22 teams are above the $34-million salary mark. This decision pushed the Jackets to the $35-million range and means MacLean isn't finished.

With Fedorov, Brule, Manny Malhotra and Jan Hrdina in the middle, you can expect MacLean to get on his phone and try to move centre Todd Marchant to somebody willing to take his $2.47-million contract.

Does this mean we're going to see more deals?

That's tough to predict. MacLean had to do something to take a run at a playoff position.

Maybe other teams will do the same.


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