by PuckStopsHere on 06/30/13 at 05:14 PM ET
The NHL Draft will have wide ranging implications that may take years to become clear. It is usually the trades that make a more immediate impact. There was a very interesting one today. The Vancouver Canucks traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for their first round pick in the draft. Vancouver picked Bo Horvat, who was one of the most significant players with the London Knights in the Memorial Cup.
This ends a roughly two year period where the biggest hockey story in Vancouver was that of their two goalie system made of Schneider and Roberto Luongo. With the salary cap, it was clear that one of them had to be moved and given that he was older and had become the backup, Roberto Luongo was the favorite. The problem was Luongo is signed longterm until 2022 with a $5.33 million salary cap hit and nobody was willing to pay much for that contract.
Eventually the solution became obvious. Trade Cory Schneider instead. He is 27 years old and given the increased player movement under the salary cap system, it wasn't clear that he would stay in Vancouver's plans well into the future.
A first round pick 9th overall is a good price for Schneider. If he is a good goalie but below the elite goalie level, which seems like the best projection of his future, this is a fair deal. If he is better or worse than those projections, then there could be a clear winner in the deal.
Schneider will be the heir apparent to Martin Brodeur in New Jersey. This is something the Devils desperately need. Brodeur is at the tail-end of an outstanding career but he is not the goalie he once was and at age 41, his days are numbered.
In Vancouver, Roberto Luongo certainly has the ability to be a star goalie. He was an elite goalie a couple years ago and could get back to that level. It appears his confidence has been shaken when he has been forced into a lesser role behind Schneider. He may have struggled in the 2011 playoffs but that doesn't negate a great career where he could have been a multiple Vezina Trophy winner - though he was passed over for them. It is reasonable to wonder if a 34 year old Luongo can still play at that level. He hasn't done it for a couple years.
Vancouver fans have been down on Luongo, but they would be quick to forgive if he plays like a top goalie. Until then, he is guilty until proven innocent. Vancouver fans will give him a rough ride until he plays well. That could be tough if the problem is psychological.
The Schneider to New Jersey trade is an interesting one. It is a bold move by New Jersey and by Vancouver. We will likely see the results of it much faster than we see the results of today's draft picks, but like those draft picks, it is a move that could succeed and could fail for both franchises involved.
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