What a great position to be in. Now that the Nucks have signed Roberto Luongo to that 12-year contract extension, they have this valuable asset in one Cory Schneider.
For those not familiar with him, he is the Canucks' top goalie prospect that has played for the Manitoba Moose over the last couple of seasons.
With the Moose, his regular season stats over the last two seasons average out to: 38GP, 25W, 11L, 4 SO, 2.16 GAA and a .924 Sv%. Last year he finished as the AHL's top goalie and in the previous season number eight.
In the Calder Cup playoffs for the last two seasons, those stat numbers are even better except that he finished numbers fifth and fourth respectfully in the goalie rankings. Unfortunately, he has not been able to put up those type of stats in the NHL, 8GP, W2, 4L, 1OT, 3.38GAA and a .877 Sv%.
So what do they do with him? He's not going to unseat Louie, playing behind him does not look promising for a young goaltender, and if Cory thinks he's ready to play in the NHL, he will not want to stay with the organization until 2012 when he would become an RFA. His cap number is an affordable $1.08M this season (does not count at present against the cap) and $.984M per year for the remainder of his contract, as reported by nhlnumbers.com
They could bring him up, work him in for 15-20 games, and if he proves he can play at this level, then you have increased his value or, do you keep him around for insurance in case Luongo tweaks that groin again? Yes, I know they have Raycroft.
The other recourse would be to package him up, along with a defenseman and maybe another player to sweeten the pot, for a top six forward. If you have read my previous article, then you know which D-man I'm talking about.
There are a number of teams that might be interested, such as Ottawa, Philly, and Atlanta, with Ottawa and Philly up close to the cap. Now this will make it even more interesting as they try to create cap space. Does Ottawa deal Heatley, or Philly Carter, or Atlanta Kovalchuk? Remember, Kovalchuk becomes an RFA after this season.
Now I know what you are thinking, if the Nucks traded for that top six forward then that salary difference will put them even further over the cap limit and now they have to move someone else just to get under it. Hey, worry about that if or when it happens. If Gillis has shown me one thing already, its that he's a lot sharper than most people think.
I feel the GM Mike Gillis is not through wheeling and dealing and this will unfold as we near the start of the season.