The Roberto Luongo saga ended Sunday afternoon at the NHL entry draft with… Cory Schneider being traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for their first round draft pick (9th overall). Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
I think most people’s reaction to the trading of Cory Schneider was “that’s it?”. Fans of the Canucks know just how good Schneider is. Apart from being a really well spoken and well liked 27 year old goalie, he was 4th in save percentage last season and 2nd in save percentage the year before. Those aren’t easy things to accomplish. He’s probably one of the top goalies in the NHL (I’d say in my top eight) and the Canucks should have received a large ransom for him. But this isn’t 2011 when Semyon Varlamov was traded for a 1st round pick (12th overall) and a 2nd round pick. This is 2013 where goalies seemingly have little to no value anymore. And the value for a budding superstar 27 year old goalie was a 1st round pick apparently. This brings me back to my article from a few days ago where I stated this:
Sure, you could get something for Schneider, but what? Just because Schneider is a good goalie does not mean that you will get exactly what you want for him.
Of course, the Edmonton Oilers apparently offered more. How much more? Well we know that the Canucks asked for a 1st and 2nd round pick plus a good young player from the Oilers. The Oilers balked at this, and the Canucks took the 1st rounder from New Jersey. Presumably the Canucks didn’t want to trade a player like Schneider to a division rival, which I’m not sure I agree with. In my opinion, you have to get the best deal possible for your team. If it improves 1 out of the other 29 teams, so be it. If you improve your team, you’ll be better off at least 28 of the 29 other teams. If a couple of trades are very close, then perhaps you lean to the non-divisional team, but I guess I will have to reserve judgement on this potential deal with the Oilers because we don’t know exactly what they were willing to give up.
Why did this happen?
So why was Cory Schneider traded? It’s because the Canucks couldn’t get anything for Roberto Luongo and weren’t willing to buy him out. That’s the conclusion I have come to. This was a trade that was made because of money, not hockey.
What is the risk of keeping Roberto Luongo?
The risk is huge. First of all Roberto Luongo is not as good of a goalie as Cory Schneider, plain and simple. The Canucks chances of winning today are not as good as their chances of winning yesterday. Secondly, Luongo is 34 years of age and could experience a sharp decline in skill/ability in the not so distant future. And lastly, the Canucks are likely going to be on the hook for the “cap recapture penalty“, which could be as bad as a $3.5 million penalty against the cap for 4 straight seasons if he retires at age 39. Yikes.
Is this a deal for the present or the future?
I’m not sure really. Dealing Schneider for a prospect in the short term makes the Canucks a worse team in the 2013-14 season. If Luongo is good until his late 30s and Bo Horvat becomes an impact player in the next 2 years, the Canucks will be better in the next 2-5 years. Beyond that, who knows.
Is this deal a disaster?
No. Sure, the optics are bad. Luongo didn’t want to be here, and he stays. Schneider did, and he’s gone. Schneider was a superstar in the making, but fetched only a draft pick. The fact of the matter is that Bo Horvat isn’t an insignificant return for Schneider. The 2013 draft was said to be a deep draft, and the 9th overall pick is a high pick.
General manager Mike Gillis said this team needed a reset, and I think the trading of Cory Schneider qualifies as that. The Canucks now have a blue chip prospect in Bo Horvat. That is much needed for the future of this team. This trade signals that the Canucks are not a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in 2013-14. Perhaps they will be in 2014-15, but not now. Unless Horvat shocks everyone, he will take at least 2 years to make a big impact in the NHL.
What does Rob say?
I don’t like this trade. Mike Gillis clearly mismanaged this situation (in part because the rules of the CBA changed after the last lockout), and his hand has been forced. Gillis could have received something of value for Luongo last summer but didn’t. Time will tell whether or not this was a wise move based on the development of Bo Horvat and the career longevity of Roberto Luongo. If the Edmonton Oilers offered significantly more, I think that was the team to trade with (I don’t care if they’re a division rival). But if Luongo remains an elite goalie for the next 4-5 years and Horvat becomes a star, this will be a good trade. Time will tell.