It’s been interesting to see how some teams are handling their respective goaltending situations during this lockout shortened season.
Some teams lack a second option behind their starter and have been forced to run their starter out for most of their club’s starts to this point. That’s not really the case with the Vancouver Canucks, who have two capable goaltenders. The only question at this point is which one actually has the starting job.
Roberto Luongo lost his starting job to Cory Schneider after a mediocre showing in last year’s postseason. The Canucks decided last summer that they would hand the reigns over the Schneider heading into this season. Most assumed that that would lead to a Luongo trade. Which hasn’t happened yet.
In the mean time, Luongo has been performing very well for the Canucks. On the other hand, Schneider has done pretty much the opposite for much of the year.
Schneider has a save percentage under .900 and a 3.13 GAA despite having posted a shutout. Luongo has been, far and away, the better one between the two. Ol’ Bobby Lu hasn’t lost yet in regulation, has a 1.61 GAA and .938 save percentage in his three starts and four appearances.
His most recent was a shutout against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. Which means that he’ll get his third consecutive start when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. Does this mean that Luongo has taken his starting gig back? Not quite yet.
As of right now, this may be just a matter of the Canucks riding out the hot hand. If Luongo melts down against the Hawks, as we’ve seen him do plenty in his career, then the starts go back to Schneider. If Luongo goes out and plays well, which we have also seen him do against the Hawks, he could be in line for even more playing time.
This is going to be an interesting situation to watch for much of the rest of the season, though. If Schneider rebounds and starts playing well, then the Canucks can trade Luongo and get an even better return for him. If not, they have one of the better insurance policies in the league and can throw Luongo in there full time and be just fine.
Regardless, we surely haven’t heard the end of the Roberto Luongo saga in Vancouver.