NHL Free Agents 2012: Does Cory Schneider Contract Seal Roberto Luongo's Fate?

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJune 28, 2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 22: Goalie Cory Schneider #35 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save during Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on April 22, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks have agreed to a three-year contract with restricted free agent goaltender Cory Schneider worth $12 million, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.

#NHL signing. Canucks agree on new 3 year deal worth 12M with G Cory Schneider. 4M is his new cap hit.

— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) June 29, 2012

The deal was later confirmed by Canucks general manager Mike Gillis via Twitter, but he did not mention the money or length of years involved in the contract.

Now the Canucks have $9.33 million of the salary cap taken up by two goaltenders, and it seems Roberto Luongo leaving the team via trade in the offseason is looking more like a possibility. Having two goaltenders that can start at the NHL level making $4 million or more is not smart.

The decision to go with Schneider long term, which appears to be the direction Vancouver is headed in, would absolutely be the right choice. Schneider has the composure and overall skill set that you need from a No. 1 goaltender, and gives the Canucks the best chance to win now and in the future.

Kypreos also shared his thoughts on how this new deal for Schneider could affect a possible Luongo trade.

At this point, I don't believe Schneider signing is any indication #Canucks are close to trading Luongo. It could however expediate process

— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) June 29, 2012

The no-trade clause in Luongo's contract, plus the fact that it doesn't expire until the summer of 2022, will make him difficult for Gillis to trade.

Locking up Schneider is a strong way for the Canucks to enter free agency, and now they don't have to worry about a team extending him an offer sheet on July 1. Now the top priority for the Canucks needs to be trading Luongo and officially handing over the starting job to Schneider.