Canucks goalie Cory Schneider put on a spectacular performance last night at Rogers Arena, stopping 37 of 39 Chicago shots during Vancouver’s 3-2 overtime win. It marked the second time in a month the backup has started and won a game against a heated rival – on Jan. 7, Schneider got the nod over Roberto Luongo and earned a 4-3 victory over the Bruins in Boston.
Today Sportsnet columnist Mark Spector declared the time has come for the Canucks to cash in their blue-chip asset.
We’re not saying “Trade Schneider at all costs.” We are saying, shop him hard, and if you can get what the Canucks so dearly need — a second line winger with size, experience, grit and skill — then make the trade.
Could you get Rick Nash out of Columbus for a package including Schneider? Could you pry an Andrew Ladd from Winnipeg, where Schneider starred for the Manitoba Moose? A Kyle Okposo from the Isles, who need goaltending? Ryan Malone and a defenceman from Tampa?
Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis has said he’s loath to move Schneider, though we doubt he considers the 25-year-old untouchable. If Gillis gets an offer that blows him away, he’ll have a big decision to make. True, Vancouver doesn’t have much cap space at the moment, but room could be made, perhaps by moving Mason Raymond and/or Keith Ballard.
The risk of trading Schneider prior to the Feb. 27 deadline is that Luongo plays badly in the playoffs. Suffice to say Canucks fans would lose their minds if that happened. Not only would they feel trapped with Luongo and his marathon contract, they wouldn’t have Schneider around to give them hope Vancouver could still win a Cup while the window is open.
Oh, and there’s also the very real possibility Schneider gives the Canucks their best chance to win when he’s in net.