After a heartbreaking shootout loss to Pittsburgh at home to open the season last Thursday, the Canucks will begin a four-game road trip against the Blue Jackets tonight. Some fans might be surprised to see who will be starting between the pipes for Vancouver. Backup goalie Cory Schneider gets the start tonight in the first road test of the year for the Canucks.
Schneider's name is at the top of the trade rumor list for the Canucks. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is because Schneider will be a free agent after this summer. The chances of Schneider re-signing with Vancouver are highly unlikely. Roberto Luongo is under contract until 2022 and unless Luongo has some sort of meltdown, Schneider will always be his backup.
That brings us to the second reason why the Canucks could be looking to deal Schneider at the deadline: He is the backup to one of the NHL's best goaltenders. Schneider is a solid goalie, but he is not nearly as good as Roberto Luongo. Or at least not good enough to take his starting job from him.
Sooner or later, if not already, Schneider will get tired of being in the shadow of Luongo. He is good enough to start for a number of teams in the league. Tonight, Schneider will get his first chance of the season to prove he is worthy to start for another team. It certainly won't be his last chance either. Schneider and Luongo will split time on the four game road trip, and it is looking like the Canucks plan to use Schneider even more than they did last year, when he appeared in 25 games.
Think of this plan as like shopping for a house. Potential buyers would want to preview a house before committing to buying it. That's exactly what Schneider's situation will be like this season. Teams will want to preview Schneider's talents before making an offer for him.
Expect to see Schneider often this season before the deadline, and don't be surprised if he is a starting goaltender for another team during the second half of the 2011-12 season.