While watching the Vancouver Canucks lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, I had a thought. The thought related to the Philadelphia Flyers and Holmgren's approaching salary cap issue(s) with the imminent returns of Randy Jones and Ryan Parent.
It's no secret that at some point this season, Paul Holmgren will be shipping at least a couple of players to the lowest bidder. By lowest bidder, I'm referring to the team that can supply the best return without an immediate cap hit, assets like draft picks or junior prospects.
Enter Cory Schneider.
Schneider has been fantastic for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. He leads the AHL with a 1.39 GAA with a 10-1 record in 11 games this season.
Vancouver has one problem, albeit a problem all NHL GMs would love to have: They don't have anywhere for Schneider to play.
Roberto Luongo is not only one of the NHL's premier netminders, he is also young enough to be one of the best for the next long while. This makes Cory Schneider more of an asset than a future No. 1 goalie for the Canucks.
Enter Mike Gillis.
The Canucks' GM has a ton of available cap space. (See the summertime offer to Mats Sundin.) Long have the Canucks struggled to find a suitable winger for the Sedins.
Many thought the Canucks had found the answer in Steve Bernier. He is big, strong, lives in front of the net, and is even a right-handed shot. He fit all the criteria the Sedins require.
Unfortunately, he was missing one ingredient: proven numbers.
Enter Mike Knuble.
At $2.9 million, Knuble is on Holmgren's radar to ease the cap issue. This is no secret. So why not a deal with the Canucks?
He fits the criteria perfectly. He is a perennial 20-30 goal scorer and he has made a living complementing some of the most skilled players in the league (e.g. Joe Thornton, Peter Forsberg, Danny Briere, and Simon Gagne).
So there is no doubt he could keep up with the Sedins and their whirlwind cycling of the puck. In return, the Flyers could finally add some level of depth to a position in the organization void of any depth at all.
After Biron and Niittymaki, the cupboard is bare. Cory Schneider would not be an immediate cap hit which first and foremost fits the criteria for any deal Paul Holmgren will be looking to make in the near and foreseeable future.
So there you have it. Two teams, two players, and a series of individual organizational needs—all the ingredients of a trade in the making.
That being said, this is merely a thought I had. I have no insider contacts within the NHL or AHL for that matter.
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