This week, the Canucks resigned their backup goaltender, Cory Schneider, to a three-year, $12-million deal.
As the rumours continue to swirl about the likely trade destination of Roberto Loungo, there’s one question worth pondering: is keeping Schneider and trading Luongo the best solution to the current goaltending problem in Vancouver?
Certainly, Schneider is younger and cheaper (new contract included); however, it’s worth noting that Schneider has yet to play more than 30 games in a season for the Canucks.
Yes, Schneider stole the starting duties away from Loungo in the playoffs last year, but really, the Canucks were no match for the Kings. They went on to win their first Stanley cup in franchise history, after steamrolling over the Canucks in the first round.
On the other hand, if the Canucks decide to keep Loungo, they know what they get from the goalie each year: solid netminding throughout the regular season, but historically, shaky playoff performances.
Of course, some fans and local sports pundits argue this is reason enough to trade the franchise’s all-time best goaltender. Still, Schneider has yet to feel the full wrath of the media and fickle fan base of Vancouver.
It's one thing to be in the spotlight for a limited time as a backup goaltender, it’s another to feel the pressure night after night as the starting goalie, especially when the team doesn’t meet high expectations, year after year.
So, as we draw closer to the free agent frenzy of July 1, the rumours continue to mount that Loungo’s most likely suitors are Toronto or Florida. In the meantime, the hockey fans of Vancouver wait to see how the Loungo saga unfolds.
If the Canucks are successful in trading Loungo and what remains of his massive 12-year contract, one hopes it’s for the greater good of the team, and not just a salary dump. However, with Schneider’s new contract, it seems it’s not a matter of if they trade Loungo, but when.