NHL Trade Speculation: 3 Trades That Could Pry Cory Schneider from Vancouver
Cory Schneider won't be in Vancouver when the games start to matter in the spring.
At 25, Schneider has put together an impressive resume.
He dominated at the NCAA level, going 65-25-7 with 15 shutouts for Boston College.
He then moved on to the AHL level, putting together an 84-45-5 record for the Manitoba Moose, including AHL Goalie of the Year honours in 2009.
Last year he finally graduated to the NHL, posting an impressive 16-4-2 record for the Canucks with 2.23 goals against average and 0.929 save percentage. Along with fellow goalie Roberto Luongo, the Canucks' goalies won the Jennings Trophy for the least goals allowed in the 2010-11 season.
Schneider is also only under contract until the end of this season, becoming an restricted free agent next summer.
He is too good to be a backup, but a combination of his youth, market value and the length of Roberto Luongo's contact means that he won't be displacing his fellow Jennings Trophy winner from the starting position.
Therefore the Canucks will look to trade him for an asset that will help them in the playoffs. Here are three trade scenarios with teams that have players that could help the Canucks and would like a new goalie in return.
Impact Forward: Zach Parise
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The Canucks could use another legitimate top six forward to compliment Selke winner Ryan Kesler.
Last season Kesler put up 41 goals, topping the combined total of his two regular wingers, Mason Raymond (15 goals) and Mikael Samuelsson (18 goals).
Vancouver sportswriters commonly referred to Kesler's line as the "helicopter line" because it didn't have any wings.
Adding another bona fide scoring threat to play with Kesler would allow the Canucks to shift one of their current second-liners down to the third line, and so on, creating a ripple effect that would strengthen all the lines.
Zach Parise would certainly be able to fill that role. Last season he was limited to only 13 games due to injury, but in the previous four seasons, he averaged 37 goals. The versatile winger has also played with Kesler in international play for Team USA, and the pair has shown chemistry.
But why would the New Jersey Devils give up Parise?
Well, they may not have a choice. Parise is currently making $6 million and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
It is very unlikely the Devils, who are handicapped by their signing of Ilya Kovalchuk, will be able to resign him, unless he takes a massive hometown discount.
It is also unlikely the Canucks would be able to afford to sign Parise to a new contract, but if they are looking for a rental player to help push them over the top, Parise certainly fits the bill.
The Devils also need a new goalie. Martin Brodeur was awesome and helped redefine the goalie position in the modern NHL. However, that was in the past.
The Devils are now a horrible team— 23rd overall last year—and Brodeur is turning 40 this season. He also posted the worst goals against average (2.45) and save percentage (0.903) of his NHL career last season.
The Devils don't have a good goalie prospect ready to step in anytime soon to take some of the workload, or even the starting role, away from Brodeur.
Schneider could help with this if he spent this season—and possibly next—in a tandem with Brodeur before his inevitable retirement.
Note: The Canucks would likely have to give up more than just Schneider in this deal, but the essence of the trade is a rental player (Parise) for a good young goalie to replace Brodeur in the near future (Schneider).
Gritty Forward: Steve Downie
Everyone knows the Canucks were outhit and physically dominated in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
One of the key contributors to that physical attack for the Canucks was Raffi Torres, who signed with Phoenix in the offseason.
Say what you want about Torres and his over-the-line style, but his wrecking ball hits certainly turned the tide of several playoff games. Just ask Joe Thornton (who suffered a shoulder injury from a Torres hit in the Western Finals) or Brent Seabrook (who was knocked out by Torres in the first round).
Whether it is Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic for the Bruins, or the collection of bruisers the Blackhawks had the year before, bone-crushing forwards are an important element for winning the Stanley Cup.
The Canucks are missing that element now, and Steve Downie could certainly provide it. Downie also posted an impressive 14 points in 17 games for the Lightning in their playoff run last spring.
The Lightning are also in desperate need of a goalie. Yes, Dwayne Roloson was awesome in the playoffs last year, but he is also turning 42 next week.
The Lightning need a good young goalie to come in and take some of the regular season load off of Roloson and also be their starter for 2012-13, if not sooner.
Offensive Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien
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The Canucks lost offensive defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to the Buffalo Sabres in the offseason and they could use a replacement for his 50 points.
Players like Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler can help fill that offensive void, but the Canucks would prefer to focus more on shutting down the other team.
Dustin Byfuglien can play forward (he was a winger with the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks), but the versatile behemoth can also play defence.
WIth his booming shot, Byfuglien put up 53 points—including 20 goals—while playing defence for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise.
However, there are rumblings that management is not happy about Byfuglien's offseason, which included an arrest over drunken boating charges, as well as potentially more charges to come. His weight over the summer also ballooned to almost 300 pounds.
If the Jets are looking to trade Byfuglien, they might be looking at Schneider as a potential goalie of the future for their new franchise.
The Jets owners also operated the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and therefore are familiar with Schneider, who spent three seasons with the Moose, during which he won AHL goalie of the year honours.
Currently the Jets have the goalie tandem of Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec, neither of whom strikes fear into opposing forwards or are signed past this season.
On the other side, the Canucks are certainly familiar with what Byfuglien can do, as he was an integral part of the Blackhawks teams that demolished the Canucks in the second round of the playoffs in 2009 and 2010.
I for one would like to see what Byfuglien—one of the best in the league at screening the net—could do with the Sedins on a power play unit.
The Jets would want more than just Schneider, but they might be content with prospects and picks more than roster players, as they have an extended honeymoon in Winnipeg to rebuild the franchise.