We've seen these situations in sports before. Think back to Matt Cassel in 2008. A backup in the shadow of a superstar who got his chance to shine.
Another team notices, and all of a sudden, a former backup is now a starter. This is exactly what could happen to Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider this summer.
Schneider had a big year this season, going 16-4-2 in 25 games with a 2.23 goals-against average, and a .929 save percentage, which was the third best in the NHL.
When Luongo couldn't get the job done during the Stanley Cup Final, Schneider did. In Game 6, when Luongo allowed three goals, Schneider was called in to stop the bleeding. He stopped 30 out of 32 shots as he gave the Canucks a fighting chance that they couldn't capitalize on.
After Game 6, there were even some rumors that Schneider would be named the starter for the biggest game in franchise history.
Schneider did not get to hoist the Cup, but GM's from all over the league know who he is now, and there are many teams that he could become the starting goalie for.
The 25-year-old goalie has one year left on his contract with Vancouver at $900,000. A goalie who has proven himself in the postseason for less than $1 million would seem like quite the bargain to most teams.
Even though Schneider is Vancouver's biggest bargaining chip for trades this summer, Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis is reluctant to trade him away. He has expressed that he would have to be blown away by another team's offer.
One possible offer to consider would be draft picks. With the NHL Entry draft coming up, there is the possibility a team could offer a package including a high draft pick for Schneider.
Gillis realizes that he has something with Luongo and Schneider that every team wants: a two-headed beast between the pipes. This season, Luongo and Schneider won the Jennings Trophy, given to the goaltenders of the team that allowed the fewest goals during the regular season.
More likely than not, Schneider will return to Vancouver next year with more fire than ever to bring the Cup back to Canada. He has expressed that he has happy in Vancouver, but he also understands that at the end of the day, it's a business, and the Canucks will make whatever moves necessary to win a championship, even if it means trading perhaps the most reliable backup goalie in the NHL.
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