Ah yes, our old adversary, Roberto Luongo. We've presented six questions so far to our friends at Nucks Misconduct and there has yet to be one about Lu, while there are so many curiosities about him, his future, and why the Bolts wouldn't trade for him (cap hit, age, contract length, cost to acquire, fixation on Cory Schneider).
Today we talk Luongo and Cory Schneider - and expectations (in one way or another) for both of them.
The 800 pound (363 kilogram) gorilla in the room is Roberto Luongo. How surprised are you that he has not been moved as of this writing?
// Not shocked at all. Luongo suffers from worst PR than Ahmadinejad. The guy has some of the best numbers of any active netminder, but stats rarely ring louder than juicy narratives. Narratives like "pump my tires" which is all anyone will remember from 2010-11, not that he helped lock down the Jennings or was a Vezina nominee or, more appropriately, Vancouver scored a pathetic eight goals in seven Stanley Cup Final games. Fast forward to the first round this past spring: in game one Vancouver took eight penalities - including a game misconduct - and it's his fault two PPG's went in, one of which from Mike Richards was an amazing shot. The point being no one can rightfully hang Vancouver's faults on his head anymore, but that perception is there. Now couple that with asking your fellow executive to shell out $5.3 million until the end of time for him and the delay isn't shocking.
The market isn't there right now, so there's no need to force the issue which is crucial because, frankly, Mike Gillis can't blow this. History won't look kindly back at him - a GM who inherited much of Vancouver's core from the combined efforts of Brian Burke and Dave Nonis before him - only to see them fall from grace when they blew a trade by moving the franchise's winningist goalie, a guy who is six shutouts away from tying Patrick Roy's career mark, a guy who maintains a top five save percentage career total and - unless he falls off the map - will almost certainly pass Vanbiesbrouck, Vernon,
Osgood, Hasek and Fuhr in total wins.
It may not be ideal, but Luongo may have to be back-up to Schneider when the season starts. We'll see how long that lasts.
We had seen a lot of hyper-criticism of Lu from Canucks faithful on Twitter last season (... and before that). Did Luongo's huge contract raise expectations too high?
Pricetags bring that extra scrutinity and, in a cap world,rightfully so. But we all know Canadian markets are fish bowls and Luongo came in at a heavy price (who knew Todd Bertuzzi would implode like he did?), had a bunch of ink spilled from local scribes about how he killed Vancouver's vaunted goalie graveyard, was made captain and a few seasons later they took it back, so on and so forth. He's been praised as quickly as he's been villified. So I view it more as a sum of the parts that raised expectations sky high, his lifetime contract being part of it. Honestly he could be making $2 million a season and
people would still be blaming him for global warming, it's just how it goes.
Luongo moving on gives Cory Schneider the starting job. What do you expect out of Schneider in his first season as a #1 goalie? (number of games, expected stats, etc.)
The one knock against Schneider has been the sample size. If you ignore that, then his numbers are remarkably strong and had the second best quality starts percentage last year, better than Halak, Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist.
However he's only played a career high 33 games so the jury is out on the wear and tear of what a full season will brings. His numbers - especially the career .928 SV% - will certainly regress, but that's to be expected. Ideally he'll stay north of .900 SV% and come close to doubling his games, or at least aim for a comfortable 60 games started. Then again Vigneault has been very good the last two seasons at platooning his netminders, being sure to spell Luongo with Schneider on back-to-backs or on long road trips to keep each player fresh. I can't fathom they would abandon that strategy now, so it just depnds who the new back-up is...golly that sounds like a nice segue to whatever your next question may be.
That will wait until tomorrow. We wrap up our Q and A with Nucks Misconduct on Saturday with part four. Join us, won't you?