Sports

April 30, 2012

Twisted Logic: The Fallacy of Trading Roberto Luongo

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Written by: Jay Adams
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Lu-Goodbye1

Six seasons. Five Northwest Division titles. Two Presidents’ Trophies. A Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Two Vezina nominations. One Hart Trophy nomination. One Lester B. Pearson nomination. One Jennings Trophy. Two team MVPs. A record of 224-115-41. A goals-against-average of 2.35. A save percentage of .920.

 Roberto Luongo’s tenure in Vancouver was many things, but disappointing was not one of them.

But that’s irrelevant now. This is Cory Schneider’s team. At a certain point, his stats became too good to ignore. His confidence resonated with the team. He gave the Canucks a better chance to win. And because of that, Roberto Luongo will soon become the first casualty of Vancouver’s Schneider era.

Or will he?

At its core, the Canuck franchise is a business. Every organizational move is the product of extensive investigation and analysis. Trading a goaltender is no exception. Luongo and Schneider are team assets. Any action taken in relation to either player will largely depend on the market and the offers presented. More importantly, it will be taken with the Stanley Cup in mind.

And that’s why trading Luongo may not be the answer.

If the Canucks are truly committed to winning a Cup, the time is now. Not when Jordan Schroeder, Nicklas Jensen and Yann Sauve develop. Not when Zack Kassian erases the memory of Cody Hodgson. Not when Mike Gillis’ apparent vision for the organization becomes a reality.

Right now.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin are under contract for two more seasons. They’ll be expected to finish those deals as point-per-game players. But neither player should be expected to eclipse the 100 point barrier. Simply put, the Sedins’ best days are behind them. And make no mistake about it, Vancouver’s window ends with them.

When the Sedins depart or retire, the organization will lack a first line. There isn’t one being groomed in Vancouver, and there isn’t one developing in Chicago.  By process of elimination, Ryan Kesler will move up. His wingers are anybody’s guess. And for those arguing that the Canucks will simply build through free agency, look at Toronto.

In short, this club has two years to win the Stanley Cup. Draft picks and college players are unlikely to help. Immediate impact is necessary. So, logically, if Mike Gillis is committed to dealing a goaltender, he must move the player whose return gets the team closer to the Stanley Cup.

That player is Cory Schneider.

At 26, Schneider is entering the prime of his young career. In 33 games this season, his 1.96 GAA and .937 SV% make him statistically a top three goaltender. In fact, no goalie playing 50 or more games since the lockout has a better save percentage than Schneider (.928).

Importantly, Schneider would provide a potential suitor with a valued sense of control. As a restricted free agent, Schneider is unburdened by a long-term, unfriendly contract. He is also subject to arbitration, thereby providing a trade-partner with two viable options.

Comments

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About the Author

Jay Adams
Jay is the West Coast Editor at CAVE Mag. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate from the University of British Columbia. He works as a corporate lawyer in downtown Vancouver.




 
 

 
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6 Comments


  1. Michael

    If you think the Canucks aren't building for the future then they need to ice the best possible team next season. Which is with Cory in net, period.

    In addition, you neglected to mention Luongo's 3 (THREE) epic playoff meltdowns. Stats are great, but the reality is that this player hasn't performed up to his potential in the playoffs since 2007. A total of 5 seasons.

    Luongo is good. Schneider is better.


    • mark

      you're right about the playoffs point of view and that should be the reason to trade Luongo.Schneider will get them to the playoffs,maybe no presidents trophy but that doesnt mean shit when the playoffs start.


  2. Jay

    Hey Michael – thanks for reading and providing feedback. Much appreciated.

    Feel free to e-mail me to discuss further. It's easier than talking over a message board.

    jay@cavemag.com


  3. Tyler

    As much as i agree we should trade schneider (schneider+raymond for nash ?) we cant because we have 0 cap space, in reality it would make more sense to move luongo and free up lots of cap space so we might be able to bring in one or two good players. No doubt columbus would take schneider and raymond an maybe a pick for nash, and that would be ideal for the canucks, but we cant cram nash under the cap.

    I say we trade luongo to tampa where he wants to go, get teddy purcell or whatever assets we can get, and use those assets + raymond and try for nash or another high caliber goal scorer. The reason for trading raymond would be to create a spot in the top 2 or 3 lines. The canucks have too many players that are potential second liners (raymond kesler burrows booth higgins, heck even hansen has been playing well) so we could afford to off load raymond.

    Sedin – sedin – nash

    Booth – kesler – burrows

    Higgins – pahlson – hansen

    Lapierre – malhotra – extra

    Schneider – lakk

    Thats a cup contending team right there if i do say so myself.


  4. Paul

    Jay;

    This is a well reasoned argument- a rarity when it comes to Canucks discussion. I am in your camp when it comes to what the Canucks should do: Schneider will be a great goalie for years to come, but the Canuckers were built to win the cup now. Luongo is an elite goalie with an elite contract, and as pointed out, was paid such that he would be the Canucks's elite goalie for their window. Canucks' 'Schneider-issue' is a problem of riches; if the window is now, Schneider needs to be traded for the best player for this window.

    Luongo has been and is a great goalie, but was made the 'escape- goat' (zing) of a team decimated by injuries in last year's cup final. The cup final is different with Hamhuis, two-legged Kesler, and two-eyed Maholtra. I always think, had the Canucks re-signed and avoided Ballard, Canucks would of won the Stanley Cup last year….hindsight, sigh….

    Your points with respect to the Sedins, are spot-on. Once the twins are gone, the window is closed. The prospect pool and current roster are not an elite team without them. It will be a few years, some good drafting and proper cap management to get the team competing for the Northwest title after they move-on.

    The claim of teams being consistent performers and building to win the cup every year is bogus. Detroit is used as an example of these consistent elite teams, but with Lidstrom at 43, Holmstrom, Zetterberg and Datsyuk on the downslope, it is very hard to see where their cup pedigree is coming from. They have good players, but their window to win has since passed with the current roster.

    So yes, in agreement, move Schneider, try for the cup with the current team with the current roster (a tweak here or there), celebrate, and then build the team for the next window.

    Great article, I am now a reader of your blog!


  5. Seb

    Smart, smart, smart article and analysis. I agree with you. But I'm afraid the Canucks will have to think of Luongo's career and the fact he's been hammered by critics. Now Luongo may not want to be there anymore which changes the game…



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