About two weeks ago, I posted an article on how each passing day increases the odds of Roberto Luongo remaining a Vancouver Canuck for the time being. While that is still true, the following are reasons why Mike Gillis should do everything he can to ensure that Luongo is gone by the start of next season, whenever that may be.
First off, each goaltender on the Canucks deserves it. Luongo's time as a starter in Vancouver may be done, but he is still an elite player who deserves a full-time role.
Cory Schneider, on the other hand, would have attracted an enormous amount of interest had he become a restricted free agent and likely would have wound up with more money as well. But instead he signed his three-year, $12 million contract with the Canucks under the pretences that he would be the starting goaltender.
Now, even if Luongo stays, Schneider would be the starter. But with a supporting goalie as talented as Luongo, Schneider would surely find himself on the bench more than he'd like.
And then there's Eddie Lack, who just signed a two-year contract extension with the team. After tearing it up in the AHL last season, it's time for Lack to see some time in the NHL. That simply won't happen if he's playing in the shadow of two of the best goaltenders in the league.
In addition to respecting the goaltenders involved, trading Luongo will benefit the Canucks as well. Don't get me wrong, the Schneider/Luongo tandem would be one of (if not the most) dominant in the league. But $5.33 million in cap space is a lot of money to have sitting on the bench for 50 games.
Whether it's put toward the salaries of the returning players or a free agent such as Shane Doan, that $5.33 million is better spent elsewhere. Lastly, there is the influence of the media.
As Luongo has learned the hard way, the fans and media in Vancouver can jump on a story and rip it to shreds as fast as anyone.
If both players are on the team when the season starts, there is no doubt that there will be stories about a goalie controversy, a Cory Schneider trade or any number of other illogical conclusions.
That is not a distraction that Schneider, the team or Mike Gillis need while pursuing a third straight Presidents' Trophy and their first-ever Stanley Cup.
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