Goalie surplus a good problem for the Vancouver Canucks
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The next two editions of The Hockey News will be the Trade Deadline and our Goalie Issue. As we sat to discuss story lineups, it’s no surprise a big part of the discussion surrounded Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.
What was surprising, however, was the divergence of opinions on which goalie should be dealt: One half the editorial team voted Luongo, while the other half said Schneider. One member of the crew, however, chose to abstain: Me.
The reason? I don’t think Vancouver should deal either. Both goalies are viable No. 1s, but each has shown a penchant for short-term struggles (such as the situation Schneider finds himself in right now). So why not keep a solid insurance policy on the most important position on the team? It’s even more important to have a Plan B when it looks like the road out of the West runs through Chicago, a team against which both Luongo (59 goals against in 19 playoff games against Chicago since 2009) and Schneider (cramped up in first career playoff start at the United Center in 2011 and had to leave game) have run into trouble.
The situation might be different if teams were clamoring to acquire one of the two, but it’s a buyer’s market right now and there’s nothing available that would help the team more than standing pat.
Besides, this goalie “controversy” isn’t having a negative impact on the team. All indications are Luongo and Schneider get along swimmingly and while both want to play, you can bet each of them would trade a few additional starts for a Stanley Cup ring.
The salary cap dips to $64.3 million next season and Vancouver already has $60.4 million committed to just 14 players. One of Luongo or Schneider will have to go and it’ll very likely be Luongo as his contract ($5.3 million cap hit for the next nine years after this season) is much less tenable than that of his younger counterpart ($4 million, two more years). GM Mike Gillis will have his work cut out making the pieces fit. His lineup will look quite different, and likely not as good, as this year’s edition.
This is the Canucks year to win it all and keeping both keepers gives them the best chance to do so.