Vancouver Canucks: Is Cory Schneider the Goaltender of the Future?

John Bain@John_BainCorrespondent IIApril 18, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Goalie Cory Schneider #35 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a pad save in front of Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Earlier Wednesday morning, Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed that for the second consecutive game in the team's opening round series with the Los Angeles Kings, backup goaltender Cory Schneider will get the start in net.

Usually when a backup goaltender gets the call in consecutive games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs— barring injury to the starter—he remains the starter for the duration of the playoffs.

Whether or not Schneider should be the starting goaltender in Vancouver has been a controversial topic for two seasons now.

But because a decade remains on Roberto Luongo's 12-year, $64 million contract, the idea of Schneider ever becoming a starter in Vancouver was never seriously considered. 

Vigneault going with Schneider in tonight's do-or-die situation shows the supreme confidence he has in his young goaltender, and that he doesn't trust Roberto Luongo with the season on the line

Contract situation aside, Schneider is deserving of an NHL starting goaltender job. On any team other than the Canucks, Schneider would undoubtedly be No. 1 on the depth chart. He has 38 victories in 68 career NHL starts, with a save percentage of .928 and GAA of 2.24. For a goalie in just his second full year in the NHL, his stats are pretty encouraging. 

Now the performance of Schneider in tonight's game could be foreshadowing of what is to come in the future.

There were plenty of rumors surrounding both Schneider and Luongo being on the trade block this season, and with Schneider a restricted free agent at the end of this season, a decision as to who the top dog is in Vancouver must be made.

Should Schneider win, it follows that the Canucks and GM Mike Gillis will attempt to sign him to an extension, as Schneider would be their goalie of the future.

If Schneider loses, however, this puts the Canucks back into the initial predicament of wondering who their top goalie is. And until July 1, there will be non-stop talks as to what will happen.

Based on the sheer confidence shown in Schneider, however, you have to think Vancouver will tab Schneider as their starter in 2012-13 (should there be a season), and try to move Roberto Luongo as soon as possible.

John Bain is Bleacher Report Featured Columnist

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