Always #1 With The Fans!
Back-up goalies are a funny, strange lot. They are eyed rather suspiciously at times by the incumbent starters, like devious theatrical understudies hoping for an injury to the lead, or the Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll.
Though the position has historically been given short shrift in the league, the value of having a solid relief goaltender is increasingly important for success and is being employed by the better teams in the NHL.
As the NHL trading deadline edges ever closer on February 27th, fans wonder if Vancouver’s fine collection of red headed athletes is about to be trimmed by one particularly gifted goaltender.
In terms of back-ups, where does he stand on the list of Vancouver’s most effective?
Forgive me for leaving off former Vancouver Canucks Troy Gamble, Kay Whitmore, Johan Hedberg, Arturs Irbe, Dany Sabourin, and Curtis Sanford. Ahem.
Here’s the TOP 5 Canucks Backups In Team History!
5. Ken Lockett
(1974-76) – Played back-up to Gary ‘Suitcase’ Smith. Though his tenure with the Canucks was short, he did manage a near break-even 13 wins, 15 losses, 8 ties with Vancouver.
This reasonable winning percentage was also highlighted by his April 1975 record goalless streak of 184:20, including two shutouts.
The record remained for 32 years until Roberto Luongo was able to surpass it.
4. Corey Hirsch
(1995-98) – Played back-up to Kirk McLean. He had excellent credentials as the 1992 CHL Goaltender of the Year. In his first NHL season, he also made the all-rookie team and finished 5th in the Calder Trophy voting.
His career record with the Canucks was 32 wins, 42 losses, 13 ties.
Better than either Cory Haim or Feldman, but not at the level of another Cory.
He also was lucky enough to get to sit next to our bossman Editor “Q” at the Canada vs. Russia World Cup Hockey game in 1996 at the then G.M. Place. In case you were wondering.
3. Glen Hanlon
(1977-1982) – Started for a time but then mainly played back-up to ‘King’ Richard Brodeur. He was the Central Hockey League Rookie of the Year.
Hanlon was (yet) another redhead starring in the Vancouver sports scene, who accumulated 43 wins, 66 losses and 21 ties as a Canuck.
Though the win-loss record was rather lopsided to the negative, he actually posted a respectable goals against average while playing with some dire Canuck squads.
He was a cerebral player, who was regarded so well that he returned to the organization as a goaltending coach.
2. Alex Auld
(2001 -2006) – Auld was primarily a back-up, who did have one very magical season as a frequent starter in 2006, after Dan Cloutier suffered a partial tear of his ACL.
He actually went on to win the Canucks Cyclone Taylor Trophy as team MVP, despite losing the battle for his hairline.
Auld has gone on to become one of the NHL’s most dependable relief goalies with a career winning percentage over .500. His career record with Van City was 39 wins, 31 regulation losses, 2 ties, 8 OT losses and 1 SO loss.
1. Cory Schneider
(2008-present & how much longer?) – Though his career has been relatively brief, Schneids has proved himself to be the most talented back-up in team history, and many supporters see him as deserving of the starting role at present.
He combined with Roberto Luongo to win the Jennings Trophy for lowest team goals against for 2010/11, and always projects a serene, professional attitude to his work.
He is still currently building his career Canucks stats quite obviously, and if you had not already heard they are rather good.