May 1, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the singing of the National Anthem before the start of the first period, perhaps his final stand as a goalie. Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 217
- Age: 34
Luongo is a veteran butterfly style goalie with the ability to make show-stopping saves. He can steal games, but is occasionally prone to weak angle goals. Lu was better going post to post prior to a season ending injury to his groin sustained several years ago, but has adapted his style from an athletic goaltender to a sound positional one. He is a workhorse capable of playing 70-75 games per season and is the Canucks’ all-time leader in virtually every statistical category for goaltenders. Though age is not on his side, Luongo is still an elite level goalie when he’s on, but he can be a bit fragile mentally.
An improving goalie in his prime who is still proving he can be a number one starting goalie. Has strong positioning and rebound control and gets up from the butterfly quickly. Strong legs allow him to block low shots post to post and he is quick for his size. Is still developing his puck-handling (virtually non-existent) and he has shown cracks in the armor of late, melting down in game 3 vs. San Jose and allowing a suspect goal in overtime in game 4. Considered the Canucks’ goaltender of the here and now and named as Luongo’s successor amid two years of controversy.
Schneider, when he’s right, tracks the puck as well as any goaltender in the league. Photo Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
AHL Stats (With Chicago Wolves)
At 6’5″, possesses tremendous size and is also agile for his height. Has a strong mental game and has been showing signs of dominance at the AHL level prior to sustaining a season ending hip injury requiring surgery. Was a member of the AHL’s all-rookie team two years ago, and had save percentages of over .925 for the last two seasons with Chicago. Slightly thin for his height, but has lightning fast reflexes and a good glove. Was expected to backup Cory Schneider prior to his injury which sidelined him for six months.
AHL Stats (With Chicago Wolves)
Another goaltender with size in the Canucks’ system who is a very technically sound goaltender, with excellent hand-eye coordination. Cannata is decent puck-handler, but lacks the “grade-A” ability of an elite goaltender. May succeed at the minor league level, but has limited upside at the NHL level except as a backup.
Weight: 209 lbs
QMJHL Stats (With Cape Breton)
The Czech Honzik is a big goaltender, who moves smoothly in the crease. A good skater who employs the butterfly style, Honzik takes covers a lot of ice and net with his large frame, but he is prone to dropping too quickly. Although he had a suspect season with Cape Breton in 2013, scouts think Honzik projects forward well, with the potential of one day playing at the NHL level. Has yet to experience much success in the playoffs.
Schneider won’t be looking over his shoulder in 2013-2014, but can he live up to expectations? Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Verdict: Glass Half Full
About the only thing in Vancouver which is certain is that goaltender Cory Schneider will be shouldering the load for the team next season. There are some questions, however. Some technical elements of Schneider’s game must improve going forward. Too many times teams dumped the puck in and forced the goaltender to make a play, and more than once it burned the Canucks for a goal. In addition, Schneider has a tendency to play on-net shoot-ins carelessly, often leaving huge rebounds in the middle of the slot for opposing forwards to scoop up.
Furthermore, and more concerning for Canucks fans, was it just a mirage or did Cory Schneider do a number 2 in the bed in games 3 and 4 of San Jose’s sweep of the Canucks? The goal to lose the series in overtime was about as bad as it gets. Schneider himself once admitted to “cramping under pressure” so is this a sign of a goalie who can’t handle the big stage, or of a goaltender learning how to cope with it?
My guess is that Schneider will be just fine, and his backup will either be the unproven Eddie Lack or a goalie received in any trade involving Luongo. Without the albatross of Luongo’s impending trade hanging around the team’s collective neck, Schneider will prove that he has the right stuff to lead his team into the next era of Canucks hockey. His stickhandling, positioning and concentration in big games are all things which are important to correct going forward, but something tells me he will amend these flaws in his game.
As for the other goalies on the farm, they’ll hold the fort at the AHL level until the Canucks can draft a better prospect than what they already have. In the unlikely situation that Lack is called up to replace Schneider, the organization will have to refill the cupboards with something in development. The more likely scenario involves Lack developing as a starter with whatever minor affiliate the Canucks purchase next season while a veteran netminder accepts the backup role to Cory Schneider all season long.