The CanucksArmy crew did a fantastic job of covering what was a crazy Sunday in the NHL. I found out about the Cory Schneider trade while driving back to the city from a little Seattle vacation – reading the instant reaction on Twitter was well worth the expensive data roaming charge.
There have been many opinions on the Luongo/Schneider controversy/situation over the past while. If nothing else, the trade of Schneider to New Jersey signals the end of one of the most unique/bizarre non-trades in recent memory. Schneidongo is dead and gone. Lost in the craziness yesterday – the Devils are getting a fantastic goalie and a true professional. Schneider waited patiently for almost 10 years to get a chance to start in Vancouver, and just when he was promised the role, he found himself splitting time with the best goalie in franchise history before getting shipped out of town in a surprise move…
Schneider very likely pictured winning a Cup with the Canucks (insert joke about organizational ineptitude here). He was groomed as the present – and future – of the team. But here we are, back with Luongo. Hockey is a game of mistakes, and that doesn’t include just the on ice product. Mike Gillis will get criticized for sitting on his hands by not doing something last summer, as the new CBA essentially killed whatever plans he had of trading Luongo and keeping Schneider – but could or should he have seen that coming?
Read on for more thoughts on the trade, as well as other news and notes from the weekend.
I don’t know a lot about Horvat. Outside of the WHL, I am familiar with the top prospects from this draft class. However, in the span of 20 seconds, he was compared to Ryan O’Reilly, Patrice Bergeron, and the Real McCoy. Guess which comparison was handed out by Pierre McGuire?
Goaltenders simply aren’t valued as highly as skaters. Schneider will have more of an impact over the next while than Horvat will, even if he turns out to be a great NHL center. But NHL teams aren’t in the business of giving up much for goaltenders right now. Why?
I think there are a few reasons.
For one, teams like to develop talent in house. It’s cheaper, and it lets you get an extended look at a guy before giving him the reigns. Look at Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick, and Corey Crawford for examples. And for two, there are a lot of goaltenders who develop later than skaters. There is no such thing as a “sure thing” young goaltender. They all face struggles (even Carey Price) along the way.
And a third reason – limited demand. There are 60 goaltending spots in the NHL. There are definitely more than 60 NHL caliber goaltenders on the planet. The number of NHL teams that “need” a number one goaltender is very low. Schneider would have been an upgrade to many teams, but it wouldn’t have been worth giving up a significant asset or two to make the move.
I’m also really glad I didn’t waste any time writing the draft to a “farewell Luongo” column. He’s the best Canuck in the history of the organization, and the fact that he is returning is great news. His new, relaxed persona shines through in his consistently-amazing Twitter account, and it is reflected in his media interactions, too. Luongo is 34 and he may not have as many years left as Schneider, but the Canucks have a while to see what they have in Eddie Lack and Joacim Eriksson.
I loved this pick. And not just because he was ranked near the top 10 on many lists (one pet peeve with the draft – teams that typically do “well” are the ones who just pick the highest ranked players according to Central Scouting). Shinkaruk is going to be a really good player. And unlike most prospects in this draft class, I am familiar with his game.
He trains in the summer with Sidney Crosby’s trainer – Andy O’Brien. I asked O’Brien about Shinkaruk last summer:
"Q: I got to see Hunter Shinkaruk play a few weeks ago. His upside is obvious – a ton of skill, speed, and a real head for the game. Do you see any parallels between him and Sidney at all?"
"A: Their bodies and skill sets are quite different, but Hunter’s has a similar type of determination. You can see it in the way he tries to hang on the puck to make a play, and in his level of compete. I think that’s the area they would be most similar. He also has a very inspiring love for the game and is a real student of the game, much like Sidney."
From what I have heard, the Canucks also shopped Alex Edler somewhat aggressively on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of interest in him. For all of his faults, he is still a fantastic two-way defenseman who does a lot of things well. He’s also twenty-seven and on an excellent contract. Why was his name out there? I think the team wanted to see what they could get in return. Keith Ballard is on waivers currently, and he will likely have to be bought out as I don’t see any team picking him up at his current price tag…
The Canucks managed to land two really good forward prospects, and they also finally cleared up the goaltending controversy that has been driving TV ratings and paper sales for many months. Gillis may have erred in his process (the ultimate downfall here was the new CBA rules punishing teams that signed back-diving contracts), but he did the right thing by keeping Luongo and moving Schneider…
By the time Luongo’s prime is over, Lack or Ericsson may be starting goaltender material. Or the Canucks could find another Swede to do the job. Or perhaps they can find a willing trading partner with two good goalies. I hear you can get good ones for pretty cheap nowadays.