Corey Schneider Trade Ends One Era, Starts Another

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Corey Schneider draft day trade signaled new eras for both the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils.

For Vancouver the trade of Schneider unmuddied the murky waters of a very unclear goalie situation. Schneider was the goalie of the future for years while Roberto Luongo was firmly entrenched as the Canucks’ starting goalie. Luongo and the Canucks experienced consistent regular season success but only made the finals once amid numerous postseason failures.

With frustration mounting due to inconsistent play from Luongo, Schneider got his chance this season to steal some of the workload from Luongo and ran with that opportunity.

After getting only 28 starts last season compared to Luongo’s 54, Schneider took over this season. Luongo was injured for a period of time, but regardless Schneider started 30 of the 48 games played during the strike-shortened, condensed regular season.

It finally appeared that Schneider was the goalie of the present despite Luongo and his immovable contract still residing in Vancouver.

However, an injury at the tail end of the regular season to Schneider put Luongo back between the pipes for the Canucks’ first round series against the San Jose Sharks. Luongo allowed three goals in each of the first two games of the series before giving way to Schneider coming off of his injury.

Schneider didn’t fare any better as the Canucks were swept and became the first team eliminated from the 2013 playoffs.

The trade of Schneider is in large part due to Luongo and his albatross of a contract. When he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline he was asked about his contract and he bluntly said he wasn’t moved because his contract “sucks.”

The terms of the aforementioned “sucky” contract checks in at an annual cap hit of $5.3 million and it goes through the 2021-2022 season. Luongo’s description of his contract in regards to the Canucks’ point of view is accurate and played a major role as to why the goalie of the future was dealt away for the ninth overall pick in this draft, which ended up being London Knights center Bo Horvat.

Horvat may turn out to be a very nice player, but trading away a young franchise goalie is always a risky move. The writing was on the wall due to Luongo’s contract, so the Canucks’ hand was essentially forced and they made a move to get a solid young prospect in order to realize that Luongo is their guy in net for better or worse.

For the Devils meanwhile, acquiring a stud goalie of the future and present in Schneider signifies the end of the Martin Brodeur era.

It is obvious that the career of the NHL’s all-time leader in regular season wins, shutouts and games played is dwindling away, as Brodeur is 41 years old. Backup goaltender Johan Hedberg is no spring chicken himself, as he will be entering his 13th year when next season rolls around.

Thus, the ever-crafty Lou Lamoriello took a draft pick and turned it into the heir apparent to one of the most decorated goalies in NHL history.

A franchise goalie is a cornerstone for any team, and no one knows that better than Lamoriello. He is the longest serving general manager in the league, as he has been at the helm of the Devils franchise since 1987. During that time Brodeur has been the common denominator for the Devils’ success that has spanned the last twenty years.

In Schneider, the Devils now have that goalie to bridge the gap after the greatest goalie of this era finally hangs up his skates.

It remains to be seen what the workload will look like for both Brodeur and Schneider as the team transitions. Being around and playing with Brodeur can only be good for Schneider as he looks to emerge as one of the top young goalies in the league. The last two Conn Smythe winners were relatively unknown goalies in Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford, so Schneider knows success is within reach.

The Schneider trade was the biggest news in a relatively quiet trade market during the NHL draft on Sunday. However, the trade of Schneider was a massive move as it gave both the Canucks and Devils a new era in net as each franchise looks to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Follow James on Twitter @JT3sticks

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