Which goalie would you rather have leading the Vancouver Canucks into the 2012-2013 season (provided there is a season): Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider? It’s a question that Canucks fans have been debating for a while now, and the mainstream media has taken notice, as well. Many have called Luongo out for his pathetic playoff performances and albatross of a contract, while extolling the virtues of Schneider and proclaiming that he ought to be leading the charge. So who is right?
Long-term, the answer is clearly Schneider. He is seven years younger than Luongo, has played more and more the past two seasons and recorded more wins, saves and shutouts last year than the year before, and he dropped his Goals Against Average below 2.00 last season while saving nearly 94% of the shots he faced. His career is on the upswing, and the more he plays, the greater an asset he will be in one or two seasons when he is asked to start the majority of Vancouver’s games. He has all the momentum at this point, especially if you believe any of the rumors coming out of Toronto that a deal to trade for Luongo is imminent.
Short-term though, Luongo is still the guy, but 2012-2013 will be his last hurrah. Vancouver is going to hate having his contract on their books in a couple years if he is still around and is no longer their #1 goaltender. The game of musical chairs the Canucks have played between Luongo and Schneider in the playoffs the past couple seasons has been embarrassing to watch. Luongo is on a paper-thin leash right now, and you have to think the Canucks will look for any excuse they can find to trade him away as soon as possible, but for now he’s still their #1 guy—barely.
If the lockout gets resolved soon and the cap comes down as much as some people are suggesting, look for the Canucks to jettison Luongo to some smaller market club after the season is over…unless they win the Cup, or unless the Toronto Maple Leafs get their way.