What does the Anders Lindback trade mean for Cory Schneider’s value?

After Dwayne Roloson’s disastrous performance last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning desperately needed to acquire a goalie in the offseason. In fact, Tampa Bay was one of the top destinations for a potential Roberto Luongo trade, according to a legion of armchair GMs. After all, Luongo has family in Florida, right? It made perfect sense.

Instead, Steve Yzerman went a completely different route and traded for Anders Lindback of the Nashville Predators, Pekka Rinne’s still-unproven backup, to fill their number one spot. The trade has ramifications for both Canucks goaltenders: first, it removes a potential destination for Luongo, and second, it sets the bar for Cory Schneider’s trade value.

The Lightning paid a fairly hefty price for Lindback, though it did not cost them any roster players. With a wealth of draft picks in hand, Yzerman sent two second-round picks and a third-round pick from this year’s draft, as well as goaltender Sebastien Caron to the Predators in exchange for Lindback, a seventh-round pick, and AHLer Kyle Wilson. Caron has been playing in Germany and his contract is up in the summer, while Wilson is unlikely to play much in the NHL, so this trade can safely be judged as involving the picks for Lindback.

While it has been anticipated that if a Canucks goaltender gets traded it will be Luongo, I am of the opinion that it isn’t that simple. The GM’s job is to do what is best for the team as a whole: even if it was decided that Schneider is a better goalie than Luongo, it’s entirely likely that Schneider would bring back more in a trade, thus making the entire team better. Schneider is younger, has less baggage, and doesn’t have the potentially burdensome long-term contract, so would potentially be more tempting to other GMs around the league.

So if Lindback is worth two second-round picks and a third-round pick, how much is Schneider worth?

Lindback and Schneider have both been full-time backups for the last two seasons behind two of the best goalies in the league, but their results are quite dissimilar. Lindback has posted good, but not great, numbers in Nashville, while Schneider has matched or surpassed Luongo’s numbers in Vancouver. I think it’s useful to compare a backup’s numbers to that of the starter as it can be illustrative of how much a goaltender’s performance is affected by the quality of the team in front of him.

Here’s a quick look at how Schneider stacks up to Luongo over the past two seasons:


W L O SV% ESSV% GAA
Schneider 10-11 16 4 2 .929 .933 2.23
Luongo 10-11 38 15 7 .928 .934 2.11
Schneider 11-12 20 8 1 .937 .931 1.96
Luongo 11-12 31 14 8 .919 .929 2.41

 

As you can see, there isn’t much separating the two goaltenders. I find their even-strength save percentage particularly illuminating: they’re almost identical despite Schneider’s higher overall save percentage and lower goals against average last season. The biggest difference between the two was on the penalty kill, where Schneider had a league-best .959 save percentage while Luongo had a merely average .870 save percentage.

Before anointing Schneider the Greek god of penalty kill goaltending, it’s worth noting that a goalie’s save percentage on the penalty kill rarely stays the same from season-to-season. Tomas Vokoun had one of the league’s best save percentages on the penalty kill last season at .925. This season, he fell to .869. Rinne went from .912 to .888. Brian Elliott had an .858 save percentage on the penalty kill last season; this season he was one of the best in the league at .912. The point is that save percentage on the penalty kill is inconsistent from season-to-season and even strength save percentage is generally more reliable.

Here’s Lindback and Rinne over the last two seasons:


W L O SV% ESSV% GAA
Lindback 10-11 11 5 2 .915 .930 2.60
Rinne 10-11 33 22 9 .930 .932 2.12
Lindback 11-12 5 8 0 .912 .919 2.42
Rinne 11-12 43 18 8 .923 .928 2.39

 

Lindback’s overall save percentage falls well short of Rinne’s in both seasons, but it’s the even-strength save percentage last season that catches my eye. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with not being as good as Rinne, it seems pretty clear to me that Lindback is also not as good as Schneider. Schneider’s statistics stack up with the best goaltenders in the NHL, while Lindback falls soundly into the category of league average.

That’s fine for the Lightning, of course: they could use some league average goaltending. But it also means that Schneider is a lot more valuable than Lindback, which isn’t a blinding newsflash, by any means. Combine his stellar regular season statistics with his performance in the playoffs against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings and it seems likely that Schneider would be worth far more than a few draft picks.

If the Canucks do move Schneider, it would have to be for a roster player who can help immediately, whether a playmaking winger for the second line or a smooth-skating defenceman for Edler’s right side. With the bar set reasonably high by the Lindback trade, that no longer seems outside the range of possibility.

 

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20 comments

  1. Doug
    June 18, 2012

    Biggest difference to me is that Schneids was entrusted (partly thru a Lu injury early on) with over one third of the regular season last year and posted amazing numbers. The reason Schneider’s trade value is that much greater than Lindback’s is his most recent resume addition (last season over the season before) showed improvement and all the signs that he can carry the greater workload of starting that all backups have questions concerning.

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  2. Mt
    June 18, 2012

    I can’t see why a 2nd line winger or even a top pairing Dman would be at all unrealistic for CS, regardless of Lindback’s value. Who wouldn’t rather have Schneider over anyone on their second line (with some obvious exceptions)? While it’s good to see what the lightning paid for Lindback, the two goalies are not in the same group, value wise. I think it’s fair to say that Lindback is ready to compete for a starting job but that’s very different from being ready to be given a starting position. CS, on the other hand has earned a starting position already and shows that his upside is extremely high. I don’t think many teams would hesitate to pencil him in as their #1.

    Speaking of which, is Tampa really banking on Linback as their #1? It seems a bit crazy, given his experience level (and the telling numbers above). I kind of expect them to pick up another goalie–not someone of CS or Luongo’s caliber but someone who, like Lindback, is also ready to compete for #1. Or maybe they will gamble, they did it last year.

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  3. akidd
    June 18, 2012

    wow, you guys have it bad. i hope that the lou trade comes sooner rather than later so you can get past the ‘denial’ stage and hopefully get to ‘anger’ or ‘bargaining’ by the time the season starts.

    i appreciate the loyalty but… sometimes when two people don’t get along, even if they love each other, the best thing is for them both to just move on and get a fresh start:)

    as for the logic of getting a better return may i suggest that trading hamhuis would get a better return than trading ballard. hmmm….

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    • Daniel Wagner
      June 18, 2012

      There’s no denial: I fully believe that Luongo is the most likely one to get traded. As long as Gillis can get good value out of a Luongo trade, I’m fine with it, because I think Schneider is the real deal. I have to consider the possibility, however, that the best trade for the team would be a Schneider trade, because it’s likely that he’s more desirable in the trade market. I think the high price paid for Lindback, who’s clearly not at Schneider’s level, is an indication that Schneider would bring back a good package.

      Assuming that Gillis runs the team based on reason and logic rather than the fickle emotions of the fanbase, I have to consider the possibility that Schneider gets moved and I think it’s a possibility that the Canucks’ fanbase needs to consider as well.

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  4. khr
    June 18, 2012

    They HAVE to move Luongo. It doesn’t matter if they get less value than moving Schneider. Luongo has become a polarizing figure in this market and needs a fresh start somehwere else.

    All this noise about Luongo’s contract being untradeable is nonsense. He’ll be moved and hopefully for picks. We don’t need another bad contract coming this way.

    Toronto is a good fit for him as Nonis traded for him and Burkie needs to make the playoffs or he’s done. They should take Franson and a pick for him and be happy to move on and save some cap room.

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  5. tom selleck's moustache
    June 18, 2012

    Who else does TB have after Lindback though? Because, I’m thinking, that if they’re really hurting for goaltending, and Lindback is still someone that needs to prove himself, it would seem that a TB/Van trade still isn’t out of the realm of possibility (i.e. Luo or CS starting in TB with Lindback the back up). Also depends on what else they have to offer, of course.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      June 18, 2012

      That’s a possibility, but it doesn’t seem very probable. The Lightning still have veteran backup Mathieu Garon under contract next year. Considering the price they paid and the fact that Lindback is highly regarded by many, it seems more like Yzerman is taking a gamble that will allow him to spend a minimum amount on goaltending.

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  6. BigFan
    June 18, 2012

    We are trying to win the cup, Schneider is in that select group of goalies that will give a team a very good chance to get there. Luongo is a different type of goalie, good for the regular season to get teams to the playoffs, so quite valuable, but capable of being thrown off his game in pressure situations, like the all important playoffs. Both goalies are two of the best, but if we want the cup, we need to limit goalie blow-ups in the playoffs, and so the unflappable Schneider gives us the best chance for the cup. Ideally, we would have Luongo backing up Schneider, but then maybe Luongo wouldn’t be that effective.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      June 18, 2012

      Clearly Luongo isn’t a playoff goaltender, because he only got the Canucks to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final while posting two shutouts. I guess a playoff goaltender would have scored more goals.

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      • JS Topher
        June 18, 2012

        C’mon Daniel. Schneider has proven himself time and time again in the playoffs. Just look at his resume. He’s never lost a game. That’s dependable. What has Luongo done? (for us lately)

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        • Daniel Wagner
          June 18, 2012

          Heh. You had me thinking you were serious for a moment and I was about to start throwing statistics all over the place. It would have gotten messy.

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      • BigFan
        June 19, 2012

        It is the truth, good as Luongo is, he looks shaky in the playoffs, Schneider vs Quick is much closer than Luongo vs Quick… Canucks fans just want to see a Cup in Vancouver, Luongo missed out, now lets give Schneider (who has proven himself) a chance to bring it home…

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  7. MB13
    June 18, 2012

    Isn’t comparing Schneider to Lindback kinda like comparing Kassian to Hodgson.

    And there is no way that TB will go after another goalie after paying that much for this guy.

    The market for Vancouver’s goalies is just getting thinner and thinner. I think they’re going to have the highest paid back up goalie in the history of hockey when 2012-13 campaign begins.

    Face it – Gillis has painted himself into a corner. How could he not have the foresight to see this coming when giving Luongo that terrible contract. He just blew up two seasons in a row in the playoffs and they must have known of how good Schneider would be. But, as usual, Gilils gets a pass.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      June 18, 2012

      Revisionist history. At the time that Luongo signed his contract, Schneider had played all of 10 games in the NHL with middling results. He was expected to be good, but no one was sure how he’d transition from the AHL to the NHL. NHL history is full of goaltenders who were good in the minors but were never able to translate that to the NHL. Anyone who says they knew that Schneider would be this good at the NHL level is lying.

      As for Luongo’s contract, while it had its detractors at the time, there were also plenty of people happy that they had Luongo signed at a reasonable cap hit for the rest of his career. And if neither gets traded and Schneider is the number one next season, Luongo definitely wouldn’t be the most highly paid backup of all time. How about Cristobal Huet, who was still getting paid $5.625 million (more than Luongo’s cap hit) by the Blackhawks to play in Switzerland.

      Besides, it’s more likely that the two would split starts as a tandem.

      As for Luongo blowing up in the playoffs the two seasons prior to his contract signing, that’s just more revisionist history.

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      • MB13
        June 19, 2012

        “As for Luongo blowing up in the playoffs the two seasons prior to his contract signing, that’s just more revisionist history.”

        I dunno. The one “advanced stat” (if you want to call it that) that I do find useful is quality starts by a goalie. There was also the opposite which was called a blow-up. In 2009-10 playoffs vs Chicago there was losses of 4, 5, 7 and 5 goals against. The prior year there was losses of 6, 4 and 7 goals against. He basically sabotaged their chances of winning in those years.

        Based on those performances, I would not have signed him to a long term contract. On top of that – his “late arrival” to an overtime game because of nature calling (if the rumour I heard is right) and his attitude (wanting to be that superstar without actually earning it).

        I will concede that Schneider may have exceeded expectations at the time the deal signed so that point is a red herring.

        But they did give this contract to Luongo on his potential also. Correct me if I’m wrong. Zero Vezina trophies, zero First team all stars, and only 4 all star appearances. This is not exactly a slam dunk player to be giving a mega contract to.

        I thought the deal was bad the day they signed. I’m curious to see how they trick the media into thinking they made a hockey trade when they dump the Luongo deal. I just hope the media has the same skepticism they did the day Dave Gagner arrived.

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      • MB13
        June 19, 2012

        FYI – I said highest paid…not biggest cap hit.

        Talk about revisionist history ;-)

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        • Daniel Wagner
          June 19, 2012

          Heh, fair point. But Luongo’s actual paycheck is just going to get lower until he’s one of the most reasonably paid backups in the league! ;)

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  8. Locky
    June 19, 2012

    Disagree that Schneider’s return (IF) must be for a top six winger or partner for Edler. Value is value. Realistically, no acquisition puts us ‘over the top’ to a point of certainty with parity such as it is. Re-stocking a prospect pool rather lacking in high end talent could help ensure future success. While we would ideally target a missing component, it should not be at the complete and total loss of future competitiveness.

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  9. Andre
    June 19, 2012

    There’s one point missing from your comparison between Lindback and Schneider: that’s the “X factor” during the playoffs. No team ever wins the Cup with an average goalie. TB cannot realistically claim that Lindback has given them that X factor and that he brings them within striking distance of the Cup. Cory provides that X factor, that extraordinary, higher-level performance required to win the Cup. That makes him substantially more valuable than your apples and oranges comparison suggests.

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    • MB13
      June 19, 2012

      X-factor? Cam Ward was an X-Factor going into their run? Anti Niemmi? Chris Osgood?

      You need a goalie is competent with a good team around them. Or a hot goalie.

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