I originally started this post as part of a series to discuss what the Canucks should do with certain players as they near the draft and free agency. Now that the team has re-signed Cory Schneider to a 2-year, $900,000 contract, I’ve had to do a complete re-write.
It didn’t surprise me that the Canucks signed Schneider to a new contract. After a couple of successful seasons with the Manitoba Moose, Schneider seems poised to make the jump to the NHL, and his RFA status only makes him that much more of an attractive target for offer sheets. (In 2009/2010, the compensation for an offer sheet worth $1.5 million per season is only a 3rd round draft pick; the compensation for an offer sheet worth between $1.5 and $3 million per season is a 2nd round draft pick. Would you trade Cory Schneider for a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick?)
What surprised me was the length of the contract. I mentioned in an earlier post that, because of his age and number of NHL games played, Schneider could have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2010/2011 season if he appeared in less than 21 NHL games (with at least 30 minutes played). When you consider that Roberto Luongo has averaged 68 GP in his first 4 seasons as a Vancouver Canuck, it wouldn’t have been a stretch to suggest that Schneider could have been a UFA at the end of next season.
This deal is a classic win-win for both Schneider and the Canucks.
From Schneider’s perspective, the one-way contract practically guarantees him the back-up job behind Luongo and allows him the opportunity to showcase what he can do at the NHL level. The guaranteed $1.8 million pay cheque – whether he stays in the NHL or somehow ends up back in the AHL – doesn’t hurt either.
From the Canucks’ perspective, the two-year deal means that the Canucks now have until the 2011-2012 season to give Schneider his 21 NHL games; Schneider then wouldn’t be eligible for unrestricted free agency until after the 2012-2013 season. It also makes Schneider a more valuable asset. If he does well and increases his trade value – obviously the hope is that he does – it will be easier for the Canucks to try and trade him. In trade talks, he’s more attractive as a good prospect on a good contract compared to a good prospect on the verge of free agency.