King gets new start with Ducks

Robin Short
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Corner Brook native Jason King will be turning in these Vancouver Canuck colours for those of the Anaheim Ducks.

Jason King is getting a fresh start in North American pro hockey, compliments of a pair of old faces. The Corner Brook product, along with a conditional pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Anaheim Ducks in a draft-day deal Saturday.

Coming the other way is Ryan Shannon, who was part of the Ducks Stanley Cup run this spring.

King actually hadnt played in Vancouver since 2003-04, when he registered 12 goals and 21 points in 47 games.

Since then, hes been beset by concussion-like symptoms and a contract dispute with the Canucks that led to the 25-year-old high-scoring forward playing overseas last winter.

So while he may have been out of sight, he certainly wasnt out of mind for Brian Burke and Randy Carlyle, the Ducks general manager and coach who knew King from their Vancouver days. Burke once ran the Canucks and drafted King, while Carlyle coached the player in Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

They know me, know what I can do and what I can offer the team, King said Sunday.

King spent last season toiling for Skelleftea of the Swedish elite league. He headed to Sweden after locking horns with Vancouver GM Dave Nonis.

While it was reported King had been seeking a one-way deal from the Canucks, the player and team had actually agreed to a two-way contract. The problem was his minor league pay: players in the minors making more than high-end $95,000 U.S. a year are subject to clearing waivers if the are recalled to the NHL.

Vancouver wasnt coming close to that figure, King said.

They were hard to deal with, King said of the Canucks. They were unreasonable.

So he headed off to Sweden where Skelleftea paid him close to the $450,000 U.S. NHL minimum last year. He finished the season with 15 goals and 19 points in 55 games.

King signed for only one season in Skelleftea. And now he has a tentative deal with Islerlohn of the German elite league, though he has an out clause if theres an NHL deal in place by July 15.

Hopefully well be talking to Anaheim this week and see what their game plan is, he said.

There has been some rumours the Canucks were ready to ship Kings rights to the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL trade deadline. After that fell through,

King was in the dark as much as anyone as to where his NHL future was headed.

But with the new CBA, every team changes a bit every year, he said.

As much as King enjoyed the new experience of European pro hockey last season, even more importantly he did so with a clear head.

In 2005-06, King appeared in only 36 games with Manitoba after suffering what was believed to be a concussion the previous season.

But, he said, some unconventional therapy has resulted in a year and a half of symptom-free hockey.

Doctors said that it might not have been a concussion, but whiplash and neck stuff, he said. That was a big relief.

Theres been a few strange things done to me, and I still dont know what half it was .. to my lower back and stuff. But it worked.

Now he hopes Saturdays trade works out just as well.

Organizations: NHL, Vancouver Canucks, North American American Hockey League Chicago Blackhawks CBA

Geographic location: Vancouver, Skelleftea, Corner Brook Manitoba Sweden U.S. Anaheim

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