Luongo, Roberto (Sweet Lu)
Date: April 26th, 2012
The Obituary reads… Born: 1979 -> Passed: 2012, Peacefully, in the Canucks dressing room, surrounded by the love and support of pretty much noone.
(Except maybe my colleague Josh…here)
The team’s season-closing interviews shed some seriously light on the situation in the goal crease come next September, and the Canucks seem poised to put their support behind backup Cory Schneider.
While Luongo is a proven winner and has been given a raw deal in Vancouver, there are a number of reasons for the Canucks to feel comfortable relying on Cory as the goaltender of the future.
Cory Schneider is seven years younger than the battle-worn, 33 year old Luongo who has slowly evolved his game for better and for worse over 13 seasons in the NHL. At 26, Schneider is ready to start with consistency on an NHL team, and there’s little reason Mike Gillis should pass up on such a prized asset.
Ginger bricks should prove to provide a solid foundation for the Canucks’ goaltending situation long-term.
In addition to his youth, Schneider’s contract is obviously projected to be far less than that of Luongo’s 12-year $64-million deal. The backup has just finished the final year of a two-year $900,000 deal and proves to be in for a hefty raise, but won’t even begin to approach Luongo’s contract length or cap-hit as a first-time starter in the NHL.
Schneider’s stock (price) rose tremendously over this past season but relative to Luongo’s colossal contract he could prove to be a bargain in the crease next season for the Canucks.
Cory Schneider put up consistent numbers throughout 33 starts this season, and by all accounts appeared ready for a heavier workload in the future. Backing up Luongo this year Schneider allowed a couple shaky losses early in the season, but turned it around in 2012, registering only one loss in which he allowed more than one goal.
After starting down the best the NHL has to offer, the Canucks can be confident Schneider is ready for a full season.
In addition to ratcheting up his play over the final half of the regular season Schneider was given a number of key starts throughout the year, proving his worth under the NHL spotlight.
Schneider’s start in Boston to being the year was only the beginning as the backup earned his way into Roberto Luongo’s starting role.
After Luongo did his best to backup Vancouver’s skaters during the opening pair of games against Los Angeles, Schneider stepped up and barely blinked during two solid starts, including the team’s lone win of the series.
While many of Roberto Luongo’s loudest critics would admit he wasn’t the man to blame during this year’s playoff losses against the Kings, Vancouver’s #1 was successfully used as a scapegoat in order to motivate the Canucks to step up their game as the series moved on.
The switch from Luongo to Schneider not only improved the play of Alain Vigneault’s skaters, but also slightly stepped up the performance in the calibre of play in the crease, symbolizing a big move in the minds of management and coaching staff heading into a long and dangerous off-season.