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Canucks have few suitors for Luongo but would have plenty for Schneider
When news broke that Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo had asked to be moved out of Vancouver, rumours started circulating about where the talented puck stopper would end up. However, if the plan remains for the Canucks to try and a win the Stanley Cup over the next five years, GM Mike Gillis should seriously consider going in the opposite direction and look at dealing Cory Schneider.
Edmonton - June 8, 2012 - When news broke that Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo had asked to be moved out of Vancouver, rumours started circulating about where the talented puck stopper would end up.
After being replaced by Cory Schneider during the Canucks first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings, Luongo decided it was time for him to move on.
With the emergence of Schneider coupled with his pending RFA status and possible UFA status following the 2012-2013, this decision was coming regardless of the veteran netminder's request.
Problem being, Luongo's contract makes him almost untradeable. While he may have a list of teams he would prefer to go to and Vancouver would want as much as possible in a trade, both sides may be disappointed at the end of the day.
Apparently, Vancouver GM Mike Gillis honestly believes he can move the thirty-three year old in an actual hockey deal. Not sure what type of hockey deal he had in mind but any other general manager should have his head examined if they were to deal for Luongo.
While his $5.3 million cap hit isn't terrible for the quality of netminding the former all star provides, the fact that his contract does not expiry until after the 2020-2021 season, makes his contract almost laughable. Who in their right mind would make that move? Luongo would be forty-two years old at the end of his current deal and would hamstring that organizations cap room for nearly a decade.
Outside of a possible one for one swap with Tampa Bay for Vincent Lecavalier, who else would even entertain the idea? While the Canucks would be getting a good player in return, Lecavalier is nowhere near the player he was in his prime and his deal is even worse than Luongo's. The Lightning captain is signed until 2019-2020 with an annual cap hit of just over $7.2 million a year and is to be paid $10 million a year, for the next four seasons. Hardly seems like a smart move from a Canucks stand point.
There are rumours out there about Roberto possibly going to the Toronto Maple Leafs. While Brian Burke can be stubborn, adding Luongo's ticket to his payroll would be the dumbest thing he could do. Not to mention that it would only improve his club marginally and hamper them in the future. What other options are there? Maybe Columbus but again, for what purpose. Makes no sense from the Blue Jackets stand point and Vancouver would get nothing but bad contracts in these types of deals.
Gillis is expecting something of value in return and in my opinion, that is nothing more then a pipe dream.If the plan remains for the Canucks to try and a win the Stanley Cup over the next five years, then they should seriously consider going in the opposite direction and look at dealing Schneider.
The twenty-six year old netminder will likely be looking for a salary in the $5 million neighbourhood, which seems steep for a guy who has played all of sixty-eight games in the NHL. Schneider, nor his agent, are stupid and fully realize they have Vancouver right where they want them. With Luongo out of the picture, they can ask for the moon and the organization will have little choice but to oblige.
Add to that, the fact that the American puck stopper would fetch the Canucks a decent return and it makes even more sense. While the former Manitoba Moose standout has been impressive in his brief NHL career, there is no guarantee he will become an elite goalie at this level. He has yet to show that he can handle being a number goalie but does seem ready to take that next step. Obviously, not an easy decision but one that needs to be fully explored.
There is the question of whether Luongo would even want to remain in Vancouver, which is fair. The current situation could easily be smoothed over within, especially when both sides realize there are few suitors for the twelve year vet. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the fans. Every city's fanbase need a scapegoat when things don't go as they had hoped and in Vancouver, that player is Luongo.
Contrary to what many Canuck supporters may think, their goaltending isn't their problem. Since coming to Vancouver, Luongo has been a model of consistency and has given the organization the highest level of goaltending it has had in franchise history. In his six years on the west coast, the former Florida Panther standout has averaged 37 wins a season with a .920 SV% and a 2.35 GAA. Those are not the stats of a guy who is washed up and when he is on his game, Luongo remains one of the best goalies in the entire league.
Yet that doesn't seem to be enough for the majority of fans. They would rather go with a guy who has played well when given the opportunity but has yet to prove anything at the NHL level. Take this year's playoffs as an example. Roberto was arguably the Canucks best player over the first two games against the Kings but Vancouver looked to Schneider to help jump start the team in Game Three. How did that turn out? Was he better than Luongo? Perhaps but not by very much and in the end, they still lost.
Obviously, Cory Schneider would be the better option long term for the Vancouver Canucks but that may not be a viable option. They are constructed to win now and are still a few pieces short of being able to make that happen and at the moment, the best way to go about acquiring those pieces would be moving Schneider and going to war with Roberto Luongo. It may not be the popular choice in Vancouver but it would be the right choice.
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