Do the Vancouver Canucks hang on to backup goaltender Cory Schneider as insurance for the playoffs? Or do they trade him before the February 27 trade deadline to bolster their top-two lines or blueline? Their decision could prove to be pivotal in whether or not the Canucks win the Stanley Cup this season.
Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province makes a case for trading Schneider because his value on the trade market is “considerably higher” than his value to the Canucks.
Aside from being considered the best backup in the NHL having accumulated a 27-9-2, a save percentage around 0.930, and a goals-against average below 2.30 over the past two years, he only earns $900K this season.
SportsNet’s Mark Spector is on the same page, saying that current Canucks starter Roberto Luongo is more than capable of leading the club to the promised land and they don’t require to have the best backup in the League and its “most valuable trade asset” riding the bench.
The Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole speculates that if the Canucks were to ship Schneider, it would be to an Eastern Conference team. Potential trading partners may include the New Jersey Devils (to replace soon-to-be 40-year-old Marty Brodeur), Washington Capitals (where Thomas Vokoun is struggling), and Toronto Maple Leafs (where James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson have been inconsistent). However, the chances of prying away a power-forward or a top-four defenseman from any of those teams is highly unlikely.
Spector suggests the Canucks should investigate the possibility of acquiring Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets, Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders, or Ryan Malone and a blueliner from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a deal revolving around Schneider.
Willes lists the trades of Dallas Stars backup Mike Smith for Lightning forward Brad Richards and the Montreal Canadiens dealing Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for first round draft pick Lars Eller as perhaps the type of players a package centered around Schneider could garner the Canucks.
Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province analyzed a rumor that originated on an Internet message board and made the rounds during the All Star break. Word was that the Canucks were preparing to send Cory Schneider, forward Mason Raymond, defenseman Keith Ballard, and perhaps a third-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for 50-goal scorer Corey Perry. Like all message board rumors, it fizzled. It never made any sense to begin with. The Canucks get the best player in the deal. The Ducks get Schneider and spare parts. Don’t think so.
Still, Ben Kuzma of The Vancouver Province speculates that the Canucks are showcasing Schneider by playing him important games like in the Stanley Cup Finals rematch against the Boston Bruins January 7 perhaps in the hope of getting a player like Corey.
However, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault says that playing the 26-year-old netminder in high-pressure games is just part of his development process. Nothing more.
For us, Cory is a real young guy who has a tremendous amount of potential and it’s important for him to play some games like this. That’s part of our reasoning.
And that could be true. Or not. There have been numerous conflicting reports.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun source are indicating the Canucks want to hang on to Schneider because they feel feel he provides great insurance in case Luongo goes down with an injury. Having said that, LeBrun thinks that the Canucks may consider moving their backup goalie if they were presented with an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Similarly, during a recent segment of SportsNet’s HockeyCentral Trade Tracker, the panel hinted that the Canucks are leaning towards keeping the impending restricted free agent but would listen to “significant” offers.
Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun also wrote recently that the Canucks could be persuaded to move Schneider if teams are willing to part with a roster player and a prospect or high draft pick in exchange.
For his part, Schneider says he doesn’t concern himself with all the speculation of perhaps playing for another team after February 27.
I just think it’s not in your control and I don’t like worrying about things I can’t control. If I’m going to get traded, I can’t control that. It would be selfish to just think of me and not the team. Again, I could make it easy and not perform the way I want to and there wouldn’t be talk of anything. Hopefully it’s enough to make them think or help me play a few more games.