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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at the Schneider/Horvat trade that shocked Vancouver

Do you remember where were you when the Vancouver Canucks traded Cory Schneider?

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in Vancouver, with a high of 26 and the low of 15. Maybe you went for a walk or a bike ride along the seawall, maybe you were at the Vancouver International Busker festival, or maybe you were taking in the “Creativity in Motion: Springs, Sprockets & Pulleys” exhibit at Science World.

Maybe you were driving with the sunroof of your car open, blasting the latest hit of the summer, “Royals” by Lorde, through the speakers. Or maybe you were practicing what you were going to do when the Harlem Shake inevitably played at the event you were going to?

Wherever you were, whatever you were doing, if you were a Canucks fan, the glory days of 2011 were likely still fresh in your mind, and you were probably still wondering how a team who had just recently won back-to-back President’s Trophies managed to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs for two straight seasons.

If that, and the goaltending controversy wasn’t enough to make your head explode, the Canucks pulled the trigger on a deal that many, including Roberto Luongo, were surprised by. The Canucks had a goaltending controversy arise that arguably reached its peak during the first round of the 2013 playoffs.

The Canucks elected to make Schneider their starter during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Roberto Luongo started 20 games while Schneider started 30, finishing the season with an impressive .927 save percentage. Schneider and the Canucks finished 1st in the Northwest Division and 3rd in the Western Conference, with an overall record of 26-15-7.

They matched up with the San Jose Sharks in the first round, a team that featured much of the same personnel as the team the Canucks defeated in overtime during game five of the 2011 Western Conference Final. The Canucks were coming off a 4-1 loss in round one the prior year to the 8th seed Los Angeles Kings, so the team was eager to put what looked like a fluke year behind them and get back to their winning ways. Instead, the results were even worse, as the team dropped four straight and were unceremoniously ousted from the 2013 playoffs.

What you may not remember is that Schneider was actually injured to begin that series. Although he performed relatively well, Luongo lost both games one and two, which caused the Canucks to go back to Schneider, who was cleared to play in game three after missing two weeks due to injury.

Needless to say, the goaltending change did not make much of a difference.

The Canucks were faced with some tough questions. They had an aging core that was proving to be incapable of getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals, and it was becoming clear that the team was in need of a rebuild. Fans wanted answers and were beginning to question general manager Mike Gillis, who had left an already struggling amateur scouting department to atrophy over the course of his tenure. Gillis was fired the following season after the Canucks failed to make the playoffs, but not before he shocked the hockey world by trading Schneider to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 Draft on June 30th, electing to keep Luongo, who had been beaten out for the starter’s job.

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The Canucks used the ninth overall pick they got in return to select Bo Horvat, who as you may have heard, became the 14th captain in franchise history this October. Schneider, on the other hand, has been sent down to the minors by the New Jersey Devils, and at 33 years old, it’s seeming as though injuries may have taken their toll on the former Canucks’ goaltender.

Maybe you remember exactly where you were when the trade went down, or perhaps it’s been lost to time. Regardless, it likely came as a shock, and probably elicited more than a little outrage from some corners of the hockey world. As it turns out, that outrage may have been misplaced. Schneider’s demotion serves as a reminder of how long it can take for the merits of a trade to truly come into focus.