Canucks, Luongo, Schneider: Nobody Is Winning Right Now

The Vancouver Canucks have lost 6 of their last 7 games while the goalie controversy that followed them into this season continues to hang over their heads. Every team has slides throughout the course of a season and a short season is no different. Right now is the Canucks turn. What makes this slide more noteworthy is that they haven’t been able to deal Goaltender Roberto Luongo. It was widely publicized after last season’s first round exit that the Canucks were ready to give back up Cory Schneider the starting position making Luongo expendable. Two months into this season Canucks GM Mike Gillis has been unable to pull off a trade.

Either goalie could be traded. Gillis recently told Canadian radio that he could possibly trade either Luongo or Schneider if the deal was going to benefit his team right now. The Canucks want to take another run at winning the Stanley Cup this season. Trading one of Luongo or Schneider for the right return could put the Canucks over the top. They are a great team and must be considered a contender as is, however, addressing the loss of second line centre Ryan Kesler would give them a hugely needed boost and help bring them out of this current slide.

Who do you trade? Initially it was thought Luongo would be dealt because he makes more money and had already had his chance to win the Cup, coming close in 2011 losing in Game Seven of the finals. It now appears that trading Luongo isn’t going to be as easy as once thought. His long term contract is enough to scare away many suiters.

Pre-season favourites to acquire Luongo have good reason to not make the trade. When the rumours first started it was speculated the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers were leading the charge of interested teams. The Maple Leafs have gotten good enough goaltending to see themselves in a playoff spot. Blackhawks goaltending has been great this season, making a Luongo trade to Chicago no longer a realistic option for the Hawks. And the Panthers haven’t gotten the best goaltending this year but they are very high on prospect Jacob Markstrom. If they want to give Markstrom a chance to shine over the next season or two, it doesn’t make sense to have Luongo’s big salary on payroll.

Schneider is not running away with the job. Even before the season started there was a sense among many that if the trade wasn’t made quickly Luongo could easily play his way into favour as the Canucks undisputed starter again. That hasn’t happened entirely but Cory Schneider has not done enough to prove he deserves to be the number one. Schneider’s record of 6-5-4 is not blowing anyone out of the water.

Luongo’s stats are slightly better. He’s played a few less games but Luongo has better stats than Cory Schneider this season.

Record: Luongo 5-2-5 > Schneider 6-5-1

GAA: Luongo 2.19 > Schneider 2.63

Shutouts: Luongo 2 > Schneider 1

Save Percentage: .912 > Schneider .910

The trade deadline is only a few weeks away and everyone is interested to see if a deal can be made for one of the Canucks’ goalies. Luongo is still the leading candidate to be dealt, but the realistic possibility now exists that it could be Schneider instead. It’s a tough call as to which one is more attractive.

Luongo makes a lot of money for a long period of time but he is a very proven goaltender in a league filled with guys who have a good year or two then disappear. There is stability with acquiring Luongo.

Schneider has a better contract but he’s never truly been tested the way Luongo has. Acquiring Schneider is less of a sure bet given his smaller sample size of games played in the regular season and playoffs. In fact, he’s never even been a starter yet. He’s been a really good back up and more recently an adequate splitting goalie.