Sober second thoughts on Cory Schneider’s trade to the New Jersey Devils

NEWARK — If the Vancouver Canucks’ plan was to quell the surge of negativity that began to surround Roberto Luongo after 2011, and somehow redirect public opinion squarely back into his corner, then the events of Sunday afternoon were the final, remarkable moments in one of the most brilliantly orchestrated long cons in the history of the game.

When the Canucks’ goaltending disaster finally saw its coup de grace and it turned out to be not Luongo on the way out but Cory Schneider getting an Amtrak ticket to Newark, nearly everyone in Vancouver saw Luongo as the pitiable victim of a raw deal.

That he completely is. And considering the last two years have been a raw deal borne of another raw deal — his contract — this thing is three raw deals deep. That’s a raw deal with a capital R, like The Score’s broadcast contract with the WWE.

It’s nigh impossible to remain unsympathetic to Roberto Luongo. When he swallows his rage and reports to Vancouver this fall (because that’s the only way he receives the most unsucky part of his sucky contract, the money), he’ll be welcomed back with arms wide open. You couldn’t have planned a better act of chicanery.

Of course, the Cory Schneider trade was not the prestige of a great magic trick, although it was slightly reminiscent of The Prestige, in the sense that the film’s big reveal — that Hugh Jackman’s been drowning clones of himself for years — made me feel the same disappointment in his desperation and shamelessness I felt for Mike Gillis on Sunday.

The worst part was when Gillis even tried to suggest that this was some sort of plan come to fruition, albeit by way of a course correction.

“Our plan three years ago was to develop Cory and move him for a high pick, and that’s what we ultimately did.”

In Gillis’s defence, that last sentence isn’t as embarrassing as it sounded in context. Three years ago that was the plan, ”Then Cory became a great young goaltender,” he said.

But even though he wasn’t claiming the Schneider deal was the plan all along, he was still trying to salvage some illusion of control, and let’s be honest: there was next to none here. The Canucks were over a barrel. They waited too long to trade Luongo and when the new CBA turned Funny Bob’s contract into a Gordian knot — a petty act from the NHL designed to make those that made them look foolish for the  loophole look even more foolish for exploiting it — they were done for, and Luongo wound up hard done by.

“I’m shocked,” he told James Duthie, doing his superfriend a solid and giving him a quote even though he was clearly in no mood to talk to anyone. ”I have to let this sink in and figure out what I’m going to do.”

Later, he took to Twitter, knowing the people were waiting on him, and hammered out a quickie:

 

The joke, of course, is that he didn’t know it wasn’t his clause to exercise. It was funny, as was, in retrospect, his tweet from the day before:

 

If the Canucks were a little gutsier with their social media, they’d let Derek Jory respond to this right now with “Sorry, how about next year?” Taking control of the people laughing at them would be the smartest move they could make today.

Yes, people are laughing at the Canucks. They should be. Gillis and company botched this entire thing, and in Newark, they looked like they knew it. It didn’t help that the GM with whom they made the deal, Lou Lamoriello, could have been elected mayor of Newark yesterday, after spending the whole day flaunting the fabulous situation in his crease to the hometown crowd at the Prudential Center.

There was a cake version of Martin Brodeur in the concourse; Lamoriello acquired Schneider to be the Elisha to Brodeur’s Elijah, just in time for the chariot of fire; and at the day’s end, Lamoriello traded for the 208th overall pick then allowed Brodeur to use it to select his own son, Anthony. A sweet move at the end of a sweet day.

Lamoriello looked like a king. Gillis looked like his fool.

All that said, while Gillis deserves your mockery for directing this disaster that was saved in no way by its twist ending — he is, without a doubt, the M. Night Shyamalan of hockey — there is a glimmer of vindication here.

In terms of his return, I actually don’t think he made out too badly. Some have used the fact that the mediocre Semyon Varlamov was traded for the 11th overall pick in 2007 as evidence that the Canucks got fleeced, but using that one as a market standard is silly. It’s like saying Brendan Shanahan set a new standard for what was suspendable when he let Shea Weber off with a finger-wag for turnbuckling Henrik Zetterberg. Acts of stupidity should never become the template for future decisions.

As Tyler Dellow points out, the Canucks may have actually done quite well for themselves with the 9th pick, which they used to select centre Bo Horvat. From MC79 Hockey:

When you look at the calibre of player it takes to acquire a pick in this range, it seems generally to be pretty high to me. There’s the odd screwup – Toskala, Varlamov, Penner and Jokinen, although in three of those cases, you can argue that the team giving up the pick probably (foolishly) didn’t expect that the pick would be so high. Jeff Carter, Phil Kessel, Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and Jordan Staal can all play. You could build a Cup contender around those players.

The players acquired with those picks have, generally speaking, turned out to be really good players to great players too. This is where I think that the people complaining about the return are kind of missing the point. The thing about a pick in the top ten is that you’re talking about a player who has a non-marginal chance of being an honest to god star in the NHL. That potential, which may or may not be realized, has real value.

In other words, there’s a good chance that Horvat turns into the sort of player you’re supposed to get inside the top-10, especially in a draft this deep. Considering people have been looking at the Canucks’ centre depth in recent years and seeing the aging Henrik Sedin, then Ryan Kesler, then bleakness, this is a big move.

The trade may not help the Canucks to “win now”, but the win now crowd has mainly been insisting that the team must do it soon because their cupboard is bare. If Horvat and Brendan Gaunce become the players they’ve been projected to become, a depth chart that consists of Kesler and the two of them, say, especially in a league where you’re only as good as your centres, could prolong the Canucks’ competitiveness.

So at the very least, Gillis was able to turn this clustercuss into a slightly brighter future. If Horvat can overcome the fact that his name is Bo Horvat, a name that just sounds like a bust if I’ve ever heard one, we might look back on this trade with fondness one day.

Furthermore, if Cory Schneider plays well for the Devils, the cap hit on his next extension, due in two years, will very likely exceed Luongo’s. And if he plays poorly and it doesn’t, we’ll be happy the Canucks kept Luongo.

And if Luongo can win a Stanley Cup with the Canucks — not outside the realm of possibility, since soulmates have been met and babies have been made in prison — that goes double. Let’s not forget that Luongo is still a very good goalie, and a proven winner with a lot left.

There are worse players to be stuck with. Players that aren’t perpetual team MVP candidates, for instance.

Still, the Canucks look bad today, and they look even worse if the rumours that they turned down a better offer from the Edmonton Oilers are true (although if the Oilers’ offer involved salary on top of their pick, one can see why the Canucks might have thought more was less).

They’ll look worse still if Luongo is allowed to speak before he’s had a moment to swallow his frustration, as on trade deadline day. And they’ll look downright terrible if Luongo finally snaps from all this and lets the front-office have it, or if he refuses to report and leaves the Canucks without a quality starter. That would probably be out of character for him, though. He’ll be back and if he plays with a chip on his shoulder, then Funny Bob’s your uncle.

I don’t think all this is grounds for Mike Gillis’s removal (although at this point, it would probably be the easiest way to mend fences with Luongo, no?). Still, he blew it, and the best I can say about the way this entire mess finally ended is that, at least, in a sense, it finally ended.

Roll credits.

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50 comments

  1. BCISLEMAN
    July 1, 2013

    Couldn’t have said it better. Should have been obvious to Gillis when he made that Contract that it made Luongo virtually untradeable and that, once Schneider emerged HE, not Luongo, would need to be traded.

    I don’t know if Gillis could’ve gotten a better return if he had handled things better. I do know that he’s stuck with a pissed off starting goalie and it didn’t have to happen.

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    • John Andress
      July 2, 2013

      I agree with you. The biggest error of judgement in this whole affair was in the signing of the contract in the first place. Keep in mind that at the time that this contract was created, it was considered the wise thing in NHL managerial circles to lock up star players to long term contracts that manipulated the cap hit over a long period of time. The Luongo deal was by no means the most expensive or onerous of the long-term contracts generated at that time. The new collective bargaining agreement changed the landscape and stipulations enacted after the signing of the contract were what made the contract untradeable. Luongo has handled this situation professionally and admirably but never forget that he participated freely in the negotiation of the contract and is the main financial beneficiary of it. Everything that has happened is corollary to the contract in the first place and in that respect, Mike Gillis has done the best he can with what he has had to work with. Let’s move on and see where the Canucks go from here but Mike Gillis must be acutely aware that he now has two strikes against him.

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  2. PB
    July 1, 2013

    Luongo will get over it. He has literally millions of reasons to. Gillis could have played this better no doubt and I think should have gotten at least another pick out of it. But this business about not going for the Edmonton deal (if it really was there) I still don’t understand. Unless they offered a really top-flight player/prospect in addition to the pick it seems like a way bigger risk than facing Schneider 6 times a year for a decade. Right now whether he stars in NJ (after splitting next season with Brodeur) and is finally made a starting goalie with a full season at the age of 30, we don’t have to see it nearly as much up close and personal. I cannot imagine that the Oilers were offering any of their big stars (really why would they?) just an inconsistent Gagner, Paajarvi or unproven Klefbom — all good no doubt, but not enough for the price.

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    • Aaron
      July 2, 2013

      To be honest NJD got no stronger due to Schnider. They just will continue with a strong Goalie for many more years. If Edmonton got a good Goalie they would become much stronger, they can afford to give up fire power as they have a few to spare which would have benefited us. I just think this decision if there was the rumored offer may be based on not letting a team that has a ton of potential get stronger. There is also the possibilty that there was salary coming back which kills a lot of benefit to the trade. (as mentioned above)

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  3. Greg
    July 1, 2013

    Speaking of the Prestige, did you know that Henrik Sedin had to have part of his left pinkie amputated while playing for Modo in 2004? Exactly like the Prestige, except he didn’t have to chop off part of his twin’s finger too.

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  4. Gary
    July 1, 2013

    Depends where you want to start from – if you ask was the contract a good idea at the time, most people thought it kind of was (although some dissent about the dead years at the end etc). Obviously with the new cap it was a pretty bad deal – but that wasn’t the game being played at the time MG/RL signed it (and as Harrison says above, there are millions of reasons for RL to decide it’s easier to play than sulk).

    So move forward to now – what can you do. Luongo can’t be traded – yes. that contract is your fault MG but it is there and there’s nothing you can do about that (unless you fancy asking for $27m for the buyout….thought not). Only one way out – trade the other guy. Was #9 the best trade available – not many people know the answer, but you’d hope it was. Was it enough? Depends who you ask doesn’t it? The Van fans are pretty rabid at the best of times so perhaps not the most objective.

    Put this another way – if the previous CBA had carried on and carrying both contracts had been possible/affordable, would people be roasting MG for not trading Luongo as he’d asked? Probably, but on the basis that (maybe) better value existed by getting something for him – not because that contract was so bad??

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    • T-Bone
      July 1, 2013

      Except the NHL made it clear they were looking into these deal before the deal with Lu was signed. Bill Daly on July 30, 2009 was quoted in the Ottawa Sun saying as much.

      If thats not a shot across the bow I dont know what is.

      Its not like MG didnt know the CBA was expiring and needed to be renegotiated with possibly differnet terms.

      Youse plays the game, youse lose the game, youse outta the game.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        July 2, 2013

        There’s a difference between looking into them in order to close the loophole in the next CBA and actively punishing teams that signed players to those deals. No one expected the league to do something like the cap recapture clause.

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  5. Pleiadian Jim
    July 1, 2013

    wow, talk about hitting the reset button! We are all Canucks have just had the carpet ripped out from under them. These event are good though. They shift momentum, even if its unclear where that momentum is going, and the Canucks could certainly use a shift. The reality is that Schneider is likely the better Goalie, but Luongo + Horvat > Schneider. A low cap hit impact player (Bo could be one) is incredibly valuable. It also wouldn’t be out the question to see Lack and/or Eriksson actually be pretty good. Likewise, Luo can still be bought out next year and there is no way his value can get any lower, maybe he actually becomes as asset again. Its good exercise to have to abruptly change direction. Was it planned? No. Can it still work out awesomely? Yes.

    It forces us as fans to do the same as the team: let go of where you think its going and start anew. Happy Canada D’eh!

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  6. akidd
    July 1, 2013

    sober thoughts, eh? well, yesterday i was pretty angry with gillis. today i realize that he was just doing the legwork. my sober conclusion? the acquilinis want to win but…not that much. so if they ‘kinda’ want to win i guess canuck fans will have to ‘kinda’ want to cheer for their team. and maybe fans will ‘kinda’ want to buy tickets and canuck gear. i certainly know that a lot of recent(and longer term) canuck fans are ‘kinda’ interested in the team.

    have the acquilinis lost money on the canucks yet? I don’t think so. so that 27 mil wasn’t going to come out of pocket. did they give gillis permission to sign that huge contract with lou? yup, but they don’t want to own it.

    so my sober thought is that the acquilinis don’t really want to commit %100 to winning yet they’d like fans to commit %100 to supporting the team. the old eat-and-have cake ploy.

    so, i’m starting to feel sorry for gillis. i’m not sure why he hasn’t quit yet. he’s left with a coach he doesn’t want and a starting goalie he doesn’t want and now he has to dig into that steaming pile with his caviar spoon and tell the cameras how delicious it is.

    gillis has made some good moves and some questionable moves during his tenure but these moves aren’t even his. maybe it’s time for the acquilinis to face the cameras. sober enough for you?

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    • Max
      July 1, 2013

      I agree. Towards the end of yesterday my anger began to shift from Gillis to the Aqulilins. Today, I went from being partial to our ownership group to not caring for them at all.

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    • Tom
      July 1, 2013

      I think you’d better serve the discussion if you talked about things you understood. So, don’t talk about money.

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      • akidd
        July 1, 2013

        ???

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        • Tom
          July 1, 2013

          My point isn’t complicated. But as a critique of your post, most of it is built around your assertions of money.

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          • akidd
            July 2, 2013

            please explain.

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            • Tom
              July 2, 2013

              Nah, pardon me as I don’t mean to condescend, but I’m not doing your homework. If someone else agrees with me and wants to go into more detail, go for it.

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              • Sand Rippa
                July 2, 2013

                “Nah, pardon me as I don’t mean to condescend, but I’m not doing your homework. If someone else agrees with me and wants to go into more detail, go for it.”

                So in other words you don’t know anything about it either.

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              • Nee
                July 2, 2013

                So you’ll talk down to the person who took the time and effort to post an opinion, but can’t be bothered to explain your own, which is so obviously superior. Lol.

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            • Tom
              July 3, 2013

              Thanks for your replies. Actually, I felt compelled to say something in response to Mr. akidd’s incredibly rude post. There are more than one point that could be made in response to him. But I thought I’d keep it simple and only remark on what he said in which he most plainly has no knowledge on.

              In conclusion Mr.’s sand rippa and nee, I am not doing your homework either.

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              • Sand Rippa
                July 3, 2013

                Does that mean you want to give the appearance of being intelligent without having to prove it?

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    • Tom
      July 1, 2013

      I think you’d better serve the discussion by talking about things you understand. So please don’t talk about money.

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  7. Arlo
    July 1, 2013

    Wow. I don’t know how to feel about this team right now. Next year will certainly be interesting.

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  8. Tom 1040
    July 1, 2013

    I don’t understand why Canuck fans are so upset!?!

    This was a very good deal for the Canucks given their ‘situation’.

    I mean, how many less games will Luongo win than Schneider, especially in a defense-first system? A few.

    Clearly (to me), the window was closed before the Schneider trade, so the Canucks might as well start to ‘re-build’ (not just reset).

    As per Dan Russell, if they can trade Luongo during the season, they should.

    Once again, the Canucks did very well though I have no idea about the draft picks themselves.

    In other words, I agree with the thinking of the deal (or at least I can understand it).

    But nake no mistake, this is all Gillis’ mess re: the current situation.

    If this is all ‘according to plan’, then Gillis is a bigger moron than I thought.

    Anyway, this is all very entertaining.

    By the way, good job covering the draft, Daniel. It must have been quite an experience.

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    • Tom 1040
      July 1, 2013

      Sorry, am I mistaken?

      Was it just a 9th overall and nothing else?

      My bad. A little busy, so not following the draft too too closely.

      Thought Schneider would have fetched more than 1 – 1st rounder (high).

      But, I still understand the logic behind the trade.

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    • Andre
      July 1, 2013

      Tom: “given their ‘situation’” is code-word for: Gillis should have worked on a Schneider deal long before it was too late to get *only* a draft pick in return. Schneider is worth a a lot more than a draft pick.

      IMHO, Gillis screwed up and we got fleeced.

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      • Tom 1040
        July 1, 2013

        Indeed.

        Good point.

        And, again, this mess is all Gillis.

        Good post by you.

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  9. Mt
    July 1, 2013

    Well, hopefully Funny Bob gets all avuncular and we’re all happy.

    As for actual return, I’d have to disagree.

    First as to the article you quoted, the samples given are cases where a very good player is what it took to get such a high pick. Okay sure, but in reality, many of those high picks were part of a packages to get those players. Had there been a package that included this pick, we’d all be happier.

    And as for the probability of the 9th pick becoming a star, we’re talking probability here. Lets be generous and say 70% chance a 9th pick is a team MVP candidate sort of player. CS already is a team MVP on an excellent team. 100%. Sure there is a small chance that he regresses, but it’s far slimmer than the chance that a 9th pick is not a significantly impactful player. I can’t see how CS isn’t way more valuable that that probability. When you buy a draft pick you buy a probability. And we just paid a lot–a sure thing, in fact–for a probability.

    I’m floored.

    Maybe Gillis’ trouble dealing with the old boys club that is NHL GMs is the root of the problem and Lou Lammorello is going to do some leg work for him as part of the deal. Then maybe someone will give Gillis some draft picks for Ballard.

    Or maybe we got fleeced.

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  10. DMachetto
    July 1, 2013

    The cake version of Brodeur contained less cake and icing than the real one.

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  11. laplander
    July 1, 2013

    Next rumour – Vancouver is trying to sign Tim Thomas to a 2 way contract.
    OK, not a rumour but hey, wouldn’t it be fun?

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  12. db
    July 1, 2013

    Read this. On 1040 AM Sports Talk, 60+% including myself (I stated this last year) that Schneider should be traded to get better assets. Schneid’s played well, but he is no Louongo. Eddie Lack if after his surgery he is 100% or close, was / is as good as Schneider. While most focus on Lou’s contract, there are still great goalies that Lou can mentor for the next 9 years while starting.
    The timing while not necessarily good brought a yet to been seen asset in Horvath. The Canucks are just going through the process with Ballard to see if there is any interest in his contract. If you where the Aquillini’s would you plunk down 27 million + 4.2 million to dump 2 players that will then re-sign tomorrow with someone else? The only blunder here is that Mike Liut (agent for Schneider) complained about his playing time and wanted Cory to be #1 and the starter. We all know that Lou should have been playing in game 3 and 4 against San Jose because he was the better goalie. Schneider while good, may find a totally different defensive team and style from Van, and his playing defensemen may not be there for him.
    NOW, Edler IMO, should have been moved yesterday before his NO Trade clause kicked in.
    He is a good hitter, has a great shot but is slow in skating and a liability if he looses the puck.
    You will see Garrison take up Edlers slack on the power-play, Tanev, Corrodo and others getting more ice-time. Mason Raymond may be gone, the Sedins re-sign for less money to next year for family reasons. Kesler could be traded and a few other surprises are still in store. The Canucks still have a great goalie, talent and a new coach that will bring a different style to the team. The right asset was traded, and assets in the draft where acquired. Even Jordan Subban was picked and PK stated he was the best of the 3 brothers. Time will tell. Not worried about in 2014. Let see it evolve.

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  13. Joe K
    July 1, 2013

    This draft – meaning the trade of Schneider, has given me further reason to believe that Gillis is way over his head in terms of his ability to manage the Canucks effectively. From a distance it seems that he has completely mismanaged the Luongo situation, particularly in mis- judging Luongo’s trade value last year.

    When added to some really questionable trades and swapping high draft picks for rental players who failed to deliver ( not to mention the signing of P Demitra, M Sundin,…) it seems that he has made more questionable moves than successful ones.

    It may be piling on, but it also strikes me that it wasn’t particularly smart for Gillis to snicker about how cleverly he boosted Cody Hodgson’s offensive stats before trading him to Buffalo.

    What teams would want to deal with someone who thinks he has pulled a fast one on them then boasts about it.

    I am old enough to remember when references to the Peter Principle were common. I think that the PP might well apply to Gillis’s elevation player agent to head honcho of an NHL club.

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  14. SMC
    July 1, 2013

    It doesn’t really matter how good the Oilers offer was.

    Gillis never would have risked having Schneider on a division rival, ESPECIALLY given how offensively stacked the Oilers look for the near future and with the new realignment/playoff plan that forces you to go through your own division to the Final.

    Lots of people look like a fool compared to Lou. Same cannot be true for the GM circus of Edmonton.

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  15. Danny
    July 1, 2013

    Any time someone incorporates Old Testament analogies (i.e. Elijah and Elisha in II Kings) into their hockey blog is a win-win scenario – unlike this trade.

    Thank you, Harrison Mooney.

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  16. Gordietee
    July 1, 2013

    Good god, look at the five-hole on that cake.

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  17. chicken chick
    July 1, 2013

    By wishing it were otherwise,
    Some fans do Gillis criticize,
    Claiming that he got too little.
    Others remain noncommittal,
    Advising we must wait and see
    The kind of forward Bo will be,
    Two years from now or maybe three.

    A player and a pick as well
    Would sure have proved a softer sell,
    Someone to bring hope right away,
    A second who might help some day.
    At any rate we’ve Bobby Lu,
    Backstopping for the green and blue
    For yet another year or two.

    It’s suck it up now Cory’s gone:
    The trade we need not dwell upon,
    Beyond our saying, “Not enough!
    Gillis is marshmallow fluff.
    Schneider is worth a whole lot more
    Than the one pick he settled for.
    No wonder that some fans are sore!”

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  18. Andrew
    July 2, 2013

    These are beyond first world problems. He’s a goalie who is paid a lot of money to be professional and to do a job (and to his credit he has done just that!). He’s on a good team where the players respect him. Some of this controversy is being magnified beyond proportion. We would love to say that hockey is a game where we value the person the highest but money has to come into it and the commitment they showed Lou back in 2011 in the end won out.

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  19. mb13
    July 2, 2013

    LOL – as I’ve been saying for years, Mike Gillis is not a good GM. He absolutely proved it this weekend. Congrats on getting $0.30 on the dollar for Cory Schneider.

    And he gets only a single draft pick in return. An asset they have traditionally done well with (*note sarcasm*)

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  20. jbc
    July 2, 2013

    Maybe it should be mentioned that Luongo can still be compliance bought out in 2014.

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  21. bergberg
    July 2, 2013

    I’m starting to wonder if this whole goalie fiasco both started and ended with AV. As the coach, is it not AV’s decision who is the starter? He evidently made this decision in the first round of the 2012 playoffs when he started Schneider in game 3 and stuck with him. Now that AV is gone, we have Tortorella who in his previous coaching gig had the luxury of a top tier goaltender, and relied on him heavily. In his position, coming into Vancouver, who do you think he is most comfortable to go with?

    I’m not saying that this whole situation was managed perfectly by GMMG. Far from, and I’m sure there are some hard feelings there still especially related to last years trade deadline day. But I think that for Loungo, it definitely makes the situation easier that the guy who ultimately made that decision is gone.

    I should also clarify that I don’t think AV/Torts really had an impact on the end result. I think moving Schneider was the only move that made sense in the first place. I’m just trying to see some positive for our old pal Funny Bob.

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    • westcan
      July 2, 2013

      ” the whole goalie fiasco started and ended with AV”….yes to this!

      Also, with apologies to having go back once again to the 2011 cup series with Boston, Schneider should have been started in game 4 then.

      My reasoning – Luongo had been letting in some softies in some of the earlier series (the series against Nashville comes to mind) so I thought he could use a break and he got rattled in game 3 against Boston (if I remember correctly). Schneider was an up and coming goalie, from Boston, and was/should have been trade bait the next year as Luongo was the starter. This was an opportunity to rest Luongo in a non-deciding game and give Schneider some Stanley Cup experience which would have upped his value. If the Canucks were to have won the game, then Game 5 would have been in Vancouver with Luongo as the starter playing in the potential cup winner game. If the Canucks were to have lost, then no real biggie, and Luongo would have started game 5 in a 2-2 game draw.

      Schneider would have been traded the following season, and the Canucks would not have such a bare cupboard today.

      Who chose not to play Scheider? AV I would guess.

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  22. Snerpsts
    July 2, 2013

    Does anyone see a possible issue, a la one Cody Hodgson, with a new young and talented center placed in a third-line role and wanting more? Didn’t we just go through this? Or if someone would enlighten me…

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  23. ktownfan
    July 2, 2013

    I’d feel better about the trade if I had any confidence in Gillis’ ability to draft. Not saying that Hovart won’t in the end be a contributing top 6 forward. Just that Gillis has a pretty horrible drafting record so far going with his “moneypuck and off the board selections. Horvat was slotted in the 14-16 spot by most of the draft predictors, not top 10. While I get Gillis wanted to boost the centre ranks as they are hard to fill outside the draft I can’t help but wonder why he didn’t take the surprisingly still available Valery Nichushkin.

    Gillis’ mantra has always been “best player available no matter the position” and sorry but Hovart was not the best player still available at that time.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      July 2, 2013

      It’s arguable. There are question marks with Nichushkin in terms of conditioning and whether he’ll be patient enough to earn a spot in an NHL lineup before heading back to the KHL. I would have liked them to take Nichushkin, but Horvat is repeatedly described as one of the most complete forwards in the draft and it’s understandable why the Canucks would have him ranked highly on their draft board. I think they did take the best player available, only it was the BPA according to their rankings, not independent rankings.

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      • ktownfan
        July 3, 2013

        Yeah, I understand that Russian picks bring their own types of risks you don’t get from drafting someone out of major junior or the NCAA. KHL is paying pretty close to NHL levels of money now with the added benefit of not having to leave home. As well there is always the chance of a European player not adjusting to the smaller ice surface and tighter checking NHL game.

        That said, this kid is a monster (6’4 210lbs at 18) with some very impressive offensive skills. When you look at what the Canucks have been lacking, is it another two way (read checking line) centre or some secondary scoring to take some pressure off the Sedins and projected 1st line sniper roll as the Sedin’s age and their production drops. Providing they re-sign this year.

        I guess what surprises me is Nichushkin is pretty much exactly the type of player Gillis said he wanted to get in the post-mortem presser after the 1st round exit.

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    • PB
      July 2, 2013

      You really think Gillis has a “horrible” record of drafting? I think it’s gotten better — there are some viable prospects in the system that he’s brought in. It’s still pretty bare, as repeated high finishes will get you (that doesn’t excuse picks like Honzik, but it’s understandable). Nichushkin as everyone says is a high risk-reward player. He might be great, he might not and he might not leave the KHL. Horvat looks like a very good 2nd line center and with him and Gaunce it really shores up the most important position outside of goal for the near future.

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    • jrr
      July 19, 2013

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/news/2003/06/17/draftrankings_naskaters/

      Pre-draft rankings of 2003 had Patrice Bergeron at 28, Shea Weber at 42, and Corey Perry at 35.

      12 was Ryan Stone
      11 was Steve Bernier
      10 was Dan Fritsche

      Pre-draft rankings mean shit all in most cases. I think most people agree that in a redraft of ’08, Karlsson, Eberle and a few others wouldn’t have dropped so much :o

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  24. mb13
    July 2, 2013

    In all this talk – has anybody mentioned Cory Schneider’s thoughts on all this.

    1) Play better than “best goalie in hockey” – check
    2) Sign cheaper contract – check
    3) Have the coach, GM and everybody promise that the net is mine – check
    4) Have to work a year with “best goalie in hockey” looming on the bench – check
    5) Get traded to another club with established netminder and will have to wait yet another year to prove ability – check

    Pretty much Schneider is the forgotten man in the eyes of the media, fans and Canucks. He only did EVERYTHING that was asked of a up and coming superstar goalie only to be kicked to the curb.

    If I was a free agent or someone negotiating with the Canucks – I would absolutely not trust a word that comes from GMMG’s mouth. He pretty much mistreated both Luongo and Schneider. He traded Sturm weeks after him moving his family here after signing a 2 year contract. He “closed down” Malhotra conveniently just as Kesler was returning. He bad mouthed Cody Hodgson all the way out the door and gloated how they “made him”.

    I wonder how long the sheeple will continue nodding at everything Canucks around here as the current regime tarnishes the good name of a franchise that may not always have won, but at least had class.

    Speaking of class – whatever happened to Tom Larscheid?

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    • Tom 1040
      July 2, 2013

      Well stated.

      Of course, I agree.

      Gee, it’s going to get a little more crowded on this side of the fence.

      Took a while, didn’t it?

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  25. Sox/Canucks fan
    July 3, 2013

    Gillis made the right call. Maybe the only call he had left to make given his earlier gambit(s), but the right call nonetheless.

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  26. Pinner
    July 3, 2013

    Mooney you sunuvabish!! Can’t believe you just ruined The Prestige for me withou even a courtesy “spoiler alert!” warning!! Are there no manners in the interwebs anymore?

    Also, amen to Joe K, bergberg, and mb13′s comments.

    Seems like the culture of wanting to take less to be here Gillis nurtured through his initial out of the box creature comforts/ nutrition/sleep etc developments may be in danger of being nullified by the potential perception of poor treatment of his assets (although personally I feel Malhotra’s situation is the opposite of this, professional athletes who have worked their entire lives to play on the show, with their sport as such a large part of their personal identity and self worth, not to mention financial ramifications, might feel otherwise).

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