On Thursday, I discussed what Cory Schneider’s recent usage in big games didn’t mean. Now I want to investigate what it does mean. Here’s the thing: while Schneider’s starts in Boston and versus Chicago weren’t indicative that the Canucks trust him in big games more than Roberto Luongo, they were indicative that the Canucks trust him in big games, and that’s still a big deal.
In fact, if these so-called “important starts” mean anything, it’s that the team is preparing Cory to receive more of them. Don’t believe Jack “Don’t stat me your stats” Edwards — Cory’s not the official playoff starter. But he may be more than the official playoff backup.
At the beginning of the Edwards interview, Greg Wyshynski posits the theory that the Canucks are planning to go to a two-goalie system in the playoffs, and this is worth a beard stroke. Many teams have used two or three different guys on the way to a Stanley Cup, but in most cases, their hands were forced by inconsistent play from their number one. Very few enter the postseason intending to share the workload between two netminders — the Canucks certainly didn’t last year. However, I’m beginning to wonder if this is what coaching and management are planning.
I’m still not convinced Schneider will be with the team after the deadline, regardless of what Mike Gillis says. But if the Canucks are actually intending to keep him, it would be a massive waste of an asset if they weren’t also intending to use him.
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector recently argued that Gillis needs to trade Schneider before the deadline. Of course, considering Schneider just played lights out versus the Blackhawks (and considering it’s Spector, who Canucks fans love to sneer at), the article was met with the usual backlash. But he makes a very good point here:
So why short yourself by having your most valuable trade asset sitting on the bench wearing a ball cap this spring, rather than patrolling Ryan Kesler‘s wing, at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds?
We’re not saying “Trade Schneider at all costs.” We are saying, shop him hard, and if you can get what the Canucks so dearly need — a second line winger with size, experience, grit and skill — then make the trade.
In my opinion, the Canucks have other, more pressing needs beside a second-line winger, but Spector’s point remains: considering what a Schneider trade could yield for a run this year, keeping him only to sit him during such a run would be downright wasteful.
It would also be foolish. In his year and a half as the Canucks’ number two, Schneider has proven that there will be no dropoff when he gets tapped for a start. And, with his success in recent high-pressure starts, Schneider is proving that he can be dropped into big games ice cold and get piping hot in a hurry. If the Canucks are intending to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, preparing against goaltender burnout this time around is crucial.
If they have the luxury of getting Vezina-quality netminding from a second guy, why not share the load? I’d argue that’s exactly what they’re planning to do.Tags: Cory Schneider, ragging on Mark Spector, trade deadline, wild theories