NHL Trade Speculation: 7 Trades That Could Pry Cory Schneider from Vancouver
Their starter, veteran netminder Roberto Luongo, has been widely regarded as a top-five goalie in the league ever since the Canucks acquired him from the Florida Panthers in 2006. He has consistently put up stellar numbers during his tenure as a Canuck and served as the team's captain for two seasons before stepping down from the role prior to the commencement of the 2009-10 season.
Backing up Luongo is 2004 first-round pick Cory Schneider, who spent three years dominating the AHL with the Manitoba Moose before securing the backup spot on Vancouver's roster last season. Schneider has been a steady and reliable goaltender at every level of hockey he has played throughout his young career and, after posting a record of 16-4-2 with a .929 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average for the Canucks last year, is now poised to establish himself as a bona-fide starter at the NHL level.
Unfortunately for Schneider, Vancouver has Luongo under contract until 2022 and, unless we see a considerable drop-off in Luongo's play, will continue to use him in a starting role for the foreseeable future. This will make it very difficult for Schneider to see more action and prove his worth as a starting goalie...unless the Canucks deal him to a club in need of help between the pipes.
While Vancouver has the luxury of having two top-tier netminders on their roster, there are several teams throughout the league in desperate need of a young, promising goalie like Cory Schneider. Here are seven potential trades that would send Schneider to such a team and strengthen other areas of the Canucks' roster in the process.
Vancouver/Phoenix: Cory Schneider for Mikkel Boedker
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Drafted eighth overall in 2008, Mikkel Boedker possesses tremendous speed and an impressive scoring touch. He tallied 73 points in 62 games in juniors during his draft year and earned himself a spot on the Coyotes roster just months after being drafted.
Boedker spent the bulk of last season in the AHL, where he scored just under a point per game with 34 points in 36 contests. He also contributed four goals and 10 assists while playing limited minutes for Phoenix during the second half of the season.
The Coyotes lost their starting goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, to the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason and are now relying on the inexperienced Mike Smith to take on the starting job. They don't have a promising goalie prospect coming through the pipeline any time soon and could benefit from the addition of a quality netminder like Cory Schneider. In return, Vancouver would receive a highly skilled young forward who would fit in nicely on the wing of fellow 2008 first-round pick Cody Hodgson.
Vancouver/Phoenix: Cory Schneider for Kyle Turris
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If Vancouver would rather take a chance on British Columbia native Kyle Turris, who is currently in a contract dispute with the Coyotes, this is another deal that could work for both clubs.
Turris is a skilled goal-scorer and a strong skater who would provide the Canucks with additional scoring depth and a young player who'll only get better with time. He hasn't done much at the NHL level yet, primarily due to being assigned to the third and fourth lines for most of his time with Phoenix, but he has been a highly effective scorer in the AHL thus far, where he has amassed 71 points in 86 games.
Turris may be in need of a change of scenery to help ease his transition from minor league hockey to the NHL, and playing for a strong contender like Vancouver could be the solution.
Vancouver/Columbus: Cory Schneider for Derrick Brassard
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Though the Columbus Blue Jackets already have a young netminder in Steve Mason, his play has weakened considerably over the last few years and he has struggled with consistency. If this continues to be an issue this season, the Blue Jackets may begin to explore other options.
With Jeff Carter now on board as the club's No. 1 center, Columbus has a surplus of quality pivots and would likely deal one of them if a trade were to be made. R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette have cap hits too large for Vancouver to accommodate, but young center Derrick Brassard, who was taken sixth overall in the 2006 entry draft, would fit in nicely with the Canucks as a versatile forward with scoring touch who can play down the middle or on the wing.
Vancouver/New Jersey: Cory Schneider for Mattias Tedenby
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The New Jersey Devils have enjoyed outstanding netminding from legendary goalkeeper Martin Brodeur ever since he joined the franchise in 1993 as a 21-year-old.
Now 39, Brodeur is beginning to show signs of decline and doesn't have many elite years left. It's time for the Devils to start planning for life without Brodeur, and dealing for Cory Schneider would provide them with a long-term replacement for the future Hall of Famer.
With a deep group of talented young forwards headlined by Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson, New Jersey could afford to deal promising winger Mattias Tedenby to Vancouver, which would love to add a skilled scorer like Tedenby to their forward ranks.
Vancouver/New Jersey: Cory Schneider for Jon Merrill
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Vancouver may have more interest in a smooth-skating offensive defenseman like 2010 second-round pick Jon Merrill, who currently plays for the University of Michigan.
After losing Christian Ehrhoff this summer, the Canucks are in desperate need of a skilled power-play quarterback and Merrill could fill that hole for them. He's a year or two away from being NHL-ready but has shown steady signs of progression since being drafted and is beginning to round out his game.
A trade based around Schneider and Merrill would address the pressing needs of both clubs.
Vancouver/Tampa Bay: Cory Schneider for Steve Downie
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The Tampa Bay Lightning are currently relying on Dwayne Roloson to continue his strong play from last season and stay healthy this year. Though he is a terrific goalie, Roloson is 41 years old and has been wildly inconsistent over the course of the last few years. To make matters worse, the Lightning don't have any quality goaltenders in their prospect pool capable of taking on a starting role at the NHL level when Roloson does inevitably decline.
One solution to this problem would be to trade one of their numerous skilled forwards for an established NHL netminder, preferably one who is young enough to join the core of the team and provide some much needed stability between the pipes.
Cory Schneider is precisely what Tampa needs and Steve Downie, though undisciplined at times, would give Vancouver a physical power winger who would fit in nicely on Ryan Kesler's wing on their second line.
Vancouver/Edmonton: Cory Schneider for Magnus Paajarvi
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Armed with a collection of young potential stars at the forward position, the Edmonton Oilers will need a much more balanced defense and a legitimate starting goalie if they hope to climb the rankings any time soon.
Moving forward, they will be building around their two consecutive first overall draft picks: Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This pair is complemented by winger Jordan Eberle, dangler Linus Omark, rookie Anton Lander and two-way forward Magnus Paajarvi. Together, this group of budding forwards constitutes one of the league's most youthful and dynamic offensive units.
Because they are so loaded up front, Edmonton would be wise to consider moving one of their stars in the making for a solid netminder like Cory Schneider, who would effortlessly fit in with the Oilers' youth movement and be a central player for them for years to come.
Assuming that Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins are off the table, the player with the next best trade value is Paajarvi, an extremely promising forward whose versatility would allow the Canucks to use him in any role while also providing additional grit and secondary scoring.