I prescribe to the train of thought that we need to ship Schneider off in a deal as soon as possible because Gillis brought Raycroft in as the backup, his cap hit is small, and the Canucks simply cannot afford to take Cory’s cap hit at just over a million dollars.
Think for a moment, about the possible injury of Luongo. Say we’re talking 6-8 weeks, or, for that matter half the season. If you’ve traded Schneider you’re obviously not bringing a goalie back the other way, so that leaves Raycroft the starting duties and his back up? I don’t even want to begin to think about how messy that scenario could get. Last year the Canucks had what I deem to have been the best roster on paper the Canucks have had in their 40 year history. This season, the scary thing is we’ve gotten even better. We have an embarrassing amount of depth on this team, and when you look at this year’s edition of the Canucks on paper, the signs all lead towards a team that is justified in it’s expectation to go deep. The pieces of the puzzle are all there. Gillis has masterminded this together, and all the naysayers who thought an agent with no experience couldn’t GM were wrong.
With a blue line that looks impenetrable, the Sedins fresh off signing a healthy 8-figure contract, a superstar goaltender who’s committed to the organization long term, and depth in not only top 6 forwards, but prospects to make the team, and solid role playing guys, the Canucks have few excuses not to take the next step. If Luongo goes down unexpectedly, but is able to return to shape in time for the playoffs the Canucks need a goaltender to carry the Canucks that stretch at least until Luongo returns. Last season the called upon were Curtis Sanford and Jason Labarbera who were both above average backups. Were it not for the unfortunate predicament the Canucks were put in when acquiring Labarbera it’s likely the Canucks would still have Sanford as the go to back up and we know he’s at least solid enough to hold the fort during any Luongo leave of absence.
The bottom line might be that while the Canucks don’t get any immediate return for Schneider, his value may rest in him being an insurance policy. Come the end of next season if Cory’s rights aren’t traded for a playoff rental or some other package deal he’d be a restricted free agent. Being signed as a restricted free agent allows the Canucks to get draft picks as compensation off of any team that eventually signs him, allowing the Canucks to make a serious run at this season knowing that if Luongo does go down, they have some piece of mind in Cory. All due respect to Raycroft, he still has a lot to prove. Draft picks would be nice because the Canucks have certainly given up several of theirs in recent trades and in exchange for rental players. If you trade Cory now, or if you lose him to free agency, the Canucks don’t walk away empty handed. Depends how big of a gamble you want to take.