Canucks re-sign Cory Schneider to caddy Roberto Luongo

1-cschneider.jpgWhile we’re sure that the Andrew Raycroft years in Vancouver are going to be remembered fondly, it’s now time for the permanent prospect in the Canucks system to take over the role as Roberto Luongo’s backup. The Canucks locked in Cory Schneider to a new deal.

The Canucks agreed to terms with the former first-round draft pick on Wednesday. Schneider, 24, is expected to be Roberto Luongo’s caddy next season, after playing 10 NHL games over the last two seasons.

The Canucks are hoping that Schneider, a Marblehead, Mass., native, pushes Luongo, and creates more trade value in his first full-fledged NHL campaign. Luongo is under contracts for the next 12 years, while Schneider has dominated the American Hockey League for the last three seasons.

Schneider isn’t just an American, he’s also a former college kid as he played at Boston College. Schneider has been outstanding in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose posting fantastic numbers with the Moose through his last three seasons in the minors. As for the deal itself, it’s for two years worth a total of $1.8 million and it’s a one-way deal meaning that Schneider is there to stay or else he goes through waivers to go back down.

The only question remaining now is how many games will he get to start. Getting Roberto Luongo a break more often than not could pay off in the playoffs for the Canucks. Luongo this past season played in 68 games and that’s not counting all the work he had during the Olympics. The ultimate aim here for Vancouver should be to get Schneider about 20 starts during the year. If Luongo ends up playing in 70 games again, it’s detrimental to both him and Schneider because they’ll be on the opposite ends of wasting away.

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    Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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    This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

    On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

    William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

    Hnnngmgghh indeed.

    That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

    Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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    Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

    So far, it shows, too.

    The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

    There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

    Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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    The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

    Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

    There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

    With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

    Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

    WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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    A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

    As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

    While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

    Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

    It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.