The Vancouver Canucks are right in the middle of one of the most interesting goaltending storylines to hit the National Hockey League post-lockout. Over the last two seasons, Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo formed one of the most dominating goaltending tandems in the league. On the one hand, having two goal tenders that are capable of starting in the NHL is a great luxury. On the other hand, the Canucks are sitting with goalt enders that, if traded, could certainly bring in assets to benefit the team in both the short and long term.
After Alain Vigneault decided to start Cory Schneider in games three, four and five of the first round in these past playoffs, most people jumped to the logical conclusion that Roberto Luongo’s time in Vancouver was done. The thought was that Roberto had been replaced by a younger and arguably better goaltender. Immediately, message boards exploded with speculation that Roberto would be traded to Toronto, Tampa Bay, New Jersey, Columbus or Florida. Months later, fans still do not have their answer to this conundrum as the Canucks organization has remained incredibly tight lipped.
Much to the chagrin of many Canuck fans, Roberto Luongo is not going to fetch the team a massive bounty in a trade. Luongo’s age, contract and the feeling that the Canucks ‘need’ to move him all factor in to lower his trade value. Regardless of the contract's structure, which may indicate that Roberto only intends on playing another five to six seasons, not many teams are going to part with much to acquire a goaltender locked in for the next ten years. The most logical trading partner for the Canucks when it comes to a potential Luongo deal is arguably the Toronto Maple Leafs. Still, the Leafs would not want to part with much to take on Luongo and his massive contract. To all fans saying Luongo is worth Gardiner and the fifth overall pick, unfortunately that is not the case.
With all of the Luongo talk, many people seem to have forgotten the prospect of trading Cory Schneider. Schneider, unlike Luongo, would be worth something along the lines of a young NHL player like Luke Schenn and a top-10 draft pick. Schneider’s youth, pedigree and athletic ability have many general managers absolutely drooling.
Mike Gillis recently expressed his interest in making the Canucks a younger team. With Eddie Lack, a goaltender regarded as one of the best stoppers currently outside the NHL, waiting in the wings, would it not make sense for the Canucks to at least consider trading Schneider for a package that would bring in a top-10 draft pick and a good, young roster player? The Canucks’ window to win a Stanley Cup right now begins and ends with the Sedin twins. At worst, Roberto Luongo can carry the team through that window; at best, he can be a key contributor.
If trading Schneider could bring in a young piece like a Griffin Reinhart, an Alex Galchenyuk, a Morgan Rielly, a Radek Faksa or a Filip Forsberg, would it not be at least worth considering? The top-10 in this years draft is incredibly strong at center and on defense. It just so happens that those two areas are where the Canucks have their greatest need. Add to that a player like a Luke Schenn and you have yourself the basis of a great future for the Canucks. If Eddie Lack is truly as good as the Canucks, and the scouting world, believe him to be, trading Schneider should definitely be an option Mike Gillis is considering.
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