Following his melt down in the Stanley Cup Finals, Roberto Luongo has lost the support of many Canucks fans who are set on having Cory Schneider as the full time starting goalie in Vancouver. Luongo was pulled in 3 of the 7 games in the Finals and was horrible in the 7th and decisive game. As a result of Luongo’s abysmal play, the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup and Luongo lost the majority of the fans.
Back up goaltender Cory Schneider, a former first round pick of the Canucks organization, has played exceptionally well this season when given the opportunity. With 7 wins, a 2.01 GAA and a .934 save percentage, his statistics better those of Luongo’s. In Luongo’s defense, he has won 11 games though a few of those wins are credited to the offense scoring.
Despite the controversy brewing in Vancouver, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis would be making a large and unintelligent mistake in trading either goalie. If either goalie is traded, there is no safe back up plan if the remaining goaltender goes down with an injury. Either Eddie Lack or Matt Climie of the Chicago Wolves would be thrust into the starting role if the starting goaltender was to go down and any sensible hockey fan knows that would put the Canucks in a large hole. Heading into the playoffs, it’s always better to have two goalies capable of being the #1 guy in case one under performs or gets injured
History would back up my statement as both Carolina and Anaheim have experienced the situation the Canucks currently face. In the 2005-2006 season playoffs, Carolina Hurricane’s starting goaltender Martin Gerber who had helped the Hurricanes to 38 wins during the regular season, struggled immensely in the first round of the playoffs. Head coach Peter Laviolette had seen enough and benched Gerber in favor of back up Cam Ward. Ward found his groove and lead the Hurricanes to their first ever Stanley Cup Championship. Anaheim has been in this situation twice. During their Stanley Cup run in 2007, back up goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov won 3 games versus the Minnesota Wild which propelled the Ducks. In 2009, back up Jonas Hiller clearly outshined starting goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and eventually won the starting job.
So Canucks fans can stop brewing up impossible and illogical trade proposals which involve either goaltender as it will not happen until the draft. The Canucks are desperate for solid defensive prospects and some help on the wing. Based on how both goaltenders perform during this season and the playoffs, one will be shipped prior to the draft for picks and prospects and both clubs involved in the trade will benefit heavily. The possibility of trading Luongo increases following the season rather than during as it will eliminate another year off his gigantic contract. Mike Gillis has thus far made all the right calls for this team to be successful, and he knows that keeping Luongo for the playoffs is the not only the right decision, but the smart decision.