There were high expectations heading into this season for the Vancouver Canucks. The team had just gone to the Stanley Cup Final. Even though they lost in game seven to the Bruins, many people believed they would go back to the finals this year.
This season started off so well for the Canucks. The team captured their second President’s Trophy, and there was hope that Canada would finally have a team to hoist the Stanley Cup. However, hope turned into disappointment as the Canucks lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings. The Canucks lackluster performance against the Kings have many scratching their heads and leaving the team open to more questions than answers.
Are there major changes coming to the Vancouver lineup? Many believe the biggest change for the Vancouver Canucks will be between the pipes. The signs are in place for the goalie change in Vancouver. Cory Schneider is the goalie of the future as he played the last three playoff games for the Canucks. He also played in some big games for the Canucks during the regular season.
Roberto Luongo’s time in Vancouver could be coming to an end as he is willing to waive his no-trade clause. Luongo, 33, has a decade left on his 12-year, $64-million contract extension he signed in 2009 with the Canucks.
In the final media availability day of the year, Luongo said of the situation with Schneider, “It’s going to be what’s best for the team. Whatever scenario that is, I’m okay with it- whether that involves me being or not is okay. We’ve got a lot of potential in this locker room, there’s a great core of guys, and the chance to do something special.”
He went on to say, “I don’t want to be one of those guys that will stand in the way of anything, I always want to put the team ahead of me and not be one those selfish guys. They’ve got a guy [Schneider] here that is going to be a superstar in this league for the next 10, 12, 15 years. I loved being here and my career has taken off in ways I could have never imagined. If I’m here in the future, then great. If not, that’s good also.”
If the Canucks decide to trade Luongo, will there be a market for him? How many teams will enter a race for a goalie that is getting up there in age? Many believe Luongo can still play at a high level, but will the contract scare of some teams? Those questions will only get answered if Luongo is put on the trading block. Right now we can only speculate.
General Manager Mike Gillis will have other tough decisions to make going into the off-season besides whether or not to trade Luongo. Is there a possible scenario where the Canucks do not bring back Head Coach Alain Vigneault? Possibly, but that scenario is highly unlikely.
Gillis believes this is not the right time to make any changes. “This guy is the winningest coach in team history. We just won two Presidents’ Trophies, lost in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final. Is that when you decide to you are going to start getting rid of people.”
The Canucks will have to contemplate a lot of things in the off-season. Can the skillful squad ever win the Stanley Cup, or will they have to keep some of the core players and add more grit to win the coveted trophy in hockey?