When the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, it was a defining moment for many players who would later become household names in Orange County’s hockey history. Ryan Getzlaf. Corey Perry. Scott Niedermayer. Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Chris Pronger.
But there is one name that is often left out, even though he put up quality numbers in an Anaheim uniform. Perhaps we don’t want to remember because of how he was unceremoniously rushed out of town, simply due to the NHL’s economics.
That name is Andy McDonald.
Who is Andy McDonald?
McDonald came to Anaheim as an undrafted free agent. This sounds a bit odd today, but in the early- to mid-2000s, the Ducks were the masters of finding undrafted talent. (In fact, in the same era, the Ducks also signed undrafted gems in Dustin Penner, Chris Kunitz and Ryan Carter.)
McDonald made his debut in the 2000-01 season and was also part of the Ducks’ great 2002-03 season, even though he didn’t play in the post-season during the team’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Initially, his numbers were steady but not spectacular. However, that all changed in 2005-06, when he exploded with 34 goals and 85 points. The very next season, he again put up excellent numbers as the Ducks won the Stanley Cup.
How the Ducks traded him
After the Cup win, the Ducks found themselves in a strange situation, with both Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer contemplating retirement. To make up for the potential loss in the meantime, the Ducks signed other players – which meant a hit to the salary cap.
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When both veterans decided to return, the Ducks had to clear up some salary cap space. Several trades were made; eventually, McDonald found himself going to the St. Louis Blues on December 14th, 2007.
Trade’s first impressions
At first, the trade looked fairly straightforward. Of course, by “straightforward,” we mean that the Ducks appeared to have gotten fleeced.
Notably, Weight was in the final year of his contract, meaning that the Ducks were essentially renting him for the remainder of the season.
What happened in Anaheim
As expected, Weight left the Ducks at the end of the season as an unrestricted free agent, signing with the New York Islanders.
Birner was immediately assigned to the AHL’s Portland Pirates. He spent more time in the Duck organization than Weight, as he remained in its farm system with the AHL’s Iowa Chops. However, his time with the Ducks ended when he refused to report to the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors and decided to return to Europe.
The draft pick that was involved became an interesting note in Southern California hockey history. On the trade deadline of 2008, the Ducks traded the pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Jean-Sebastien Aubin. This marked the first-ever trade between the two SoCal rivals.
Aubin eventually left for the Philadelphia Flyers via free agency in the fall of 2008, marking the last remaining Ducks connection to the trade.
Meanwhile in St. Louis
As almost everyone expected, McDonald became a star with the Blues, even though his numbers never matched the ones he posted with the Ducks. He was most potent during the playoffs, averaging around a point per game in all but one playoff year.
Jan 26, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues center Andy McDonald (10) skates in the Dallas Stars zone during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Blues defeated the Stars 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
However, in his final two years with the Blues, he was sidelined by injuries. Ultimately, a concussion proved to be the final factor in his retirement in 2013, after six seasons with the Blues.
Trade’s final form (2007-2013)
After the dust had settled, this was what the Ducks and Blues got.
Ducks – 38 games (6G, 8A = 14 points)
Left via free agency in 2008
Portland (AHL) / Iowa (AHL) – 42 games
Left for Europe in 2008
Portland (AHL) – 11 games
Left via free agency in 2008
For St. Louis:
Blues – 296 games (90G, 140A = 230 points)
Retired with Blues in 2013
Who won the trade?
Obviously the Blues won the trade. In fact, many fans today would argue that this was one of the worst trades in Ducks history.
It is hard to say whether the Ducks had much choice in the matter, because of the salary cap situation at the time due to Niedermayer and Selanne’s potential retirements. On one hand, they could have asked more for McDonald. On the other hand, the situation had a time limit.
Essentially, the Ducks were asking for a team to do them a favor by giving them salary cap relief, and found a willing partner in the Blues, who were looking to unload an upcoming free agent in Weight in exchange for an asset that would be a benefit long-term.
Was it a bad trade? Yes. Did both team get what they wanted? Yes.
Could it have been differently done? Maybe; maybe not.