Vancouver is entering a two week phase which could result in a very different looking squad by early July. Some of this should rightly involve the second line which will be lacking a center and maybe a left winger when next season starts. Some of this should rightly look at the defense where the possibility of losing Salo Salo is of significant importance (age and injuries aside, he was easily one of their best defenseman). Some of this should rightly look getting a solid first rounder, inking some prospects for camp and getting the RFA house sorted out in anticipation of camp and a season where they need to reassert themselves.
But that all ignores the four horsemen of the apocalypse sitting patiently in the corner waiting for their moment to be noticed, so let's get to it: Luongo or Schneider?
It's a question we've asked before but never one that was more timely.
Here's the management coin flip in a nutshell: Schneider has been qualified but unless something works out before then (and why would you if you're Schneider looking at a team where Luongo is still #1, at least on paper) then he and the club are expected to go to arbitration. As MacIntyre notes this morning, that can't happen until July 5th which will open the Ginger Jesus to a five-day offer letter window. So if Schneider is the new boss in town, then it's in MG's interest to move Luongo before July 1st, if not shortly thereafter. In the same article MG is posturing (poorly) that there's certainly a market for Luongo and his contract, but he's fooling no one: MG needs a market Luongo will gladly move to and a GM willing to roll the dice to come together in a span of 10 days. In short, MG has to blink first or risk heading into next season with two expensive #1 goalies.
Not to be lost in the drama is what type of team will remain whenever this decision is made. If you keep Luongo and move Schneider, chances are MG can nab an immediate impact player while at the same time you roll along with the franchise leader in wins, SV%, GAA and shutouts. If Luongo hits the dirt then the Canucks probably won't net a strong package in return and hand the keys to the city to the more technical, unflappable netminder but still one who hasn't shouldered an entire season on his own. Lastly they end up keeping both guys and once again get to chip away at 82 games with the best tandem (albeit a pissed off one) in the league. That last option seems increasingly unappealing, but if MG is offered a pathetic package what option is he left with?
The biggest take away for now - as the post title suggests - is focus on what's left: the core of one of the best teams in the league. No matter who is in net he'll be back stopping a team still capable of curb-stomping their way through the West again. That second line and defense still need to be addressed, but unlike the goalie graveyard, pre-Luongo days Vancouver is acting from a position of strength. This isn't like choosing between Garth Snow and Kevin Weekes and running for the nearest toilet. For that we should breathe a sigh of relief for a change.
Let the chips fall where they may.