The Vancouver Canucks made one of the more shocking moves of draft weekend, when they traded a goaltender for a first round pick. Of course, that goaltender was the one that virtually no one was expecting them to move, as they traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for a first round pick that netted them Bo Horvat.
That Schneider trade comes following months, basically a year, of Roberto Luongo trade rumors. With so many years remaining on his contract, and Schneider looking like the young up-and-comer, it seemed like a guarantee that Luongo would be gone this summer. But that’s obviously not the case now.
General manager Mike Gillis moved the more favorable contract, and the goaltender with more upside at this point in his career, for a first round pick, which the Canucks used to reach on a player like Horvat. He’ll be a solid player someday, but probably wasn’t worth a mid-first round pick.
Schneider wasn’t too far off from being a Vezina contender in 2013, after shaking off some early struggles. That’s his upside. The fact that they traded him, by itself, could end up being very regrettable for Mike Gillis and the Canucks. Then there’s the matter of the relationship with Luongo that needs to be repaired.
Luongo didn’t just want out because he wanted an opportunity to start. He wanted out of Vancouver entirely. He was expecting to be out. Whether it was by way of trade or buyout, it seemed like it was a lock. Now the Canucks have to repair their relationship with the embattled goaltender and make him want to come back, or it could make for a very messy situation.
Bottom line is the fact that this deal could end up closing the book on Mike Gillis as GM of the Vancouver Canucks. His seat was likely already feeling a bit warm, given several consecutive years of playoff failures. If this trade backfires, and the Canucks fall flat on their faces when the postseason rolls around again next year, it could very well be the end of Gillis with the Canucks.