The Solution? Trade Corey Schneider!

Despite Schneider's weak performance in the final games of the Sharks/Canucks playoff series, this is not meant as criticism of Vancouver's young netminder. Corey is a top-notch 'keeper in the NHL, and will be for years to come. The loss to the San Jose Sharks was not his fault alone.

So why would anyone consider trading him instead of his former mentor. Roberto Luongo, who he seems to have surpassed?

What was clear in the playoffs and for much of the regular season was that the Vancouver Canucks do not have a goaltending problem, despite all the ink and airtime wasted opining that they did. Schneider was great and Luongo was very good for most of the year, and the two got along like blood brothers.

The problem is scoring depth especially at centre.

The season-long trade watch on Roberto Luongo was much more of a distraction than the conduct or play of the two goalies themselves. All that came of the fruitless process was to prove that Luo's contract makes him untradeable, especially with the lower salary cap kicking in next year. If the Canucks insist on getting rid of their former captain they will have to either take back a player with an equally unappealing contract, settle for minimal value, or buy out Luongo and get nothing but cap space in return. What a waste!

Schneider, however, has a much more attractive contract, both in terms of cap hit numbers and length. He is also younger and would be far more in demand than Luongo is. But doesn't that mean Vancouver would be nuts to trade him? Well, if you're talking about trading him to a conference rival, perhaps. Being beaten by the young Bostonian in the playoffs in years to come is not an appealing prospect.

But that leaves 16 teams in the larger eastern conference after realignment next year, a much bigger pool than the one or two teams who kicked the tires on Luo. Schneider should easily bring help at centre ice and on the scoreboard.

Meanwhile, the Canucks would retain the services of their best goaltender in franchise history and still a top flight player in that vital position. Eddie Lack, despite an injury filled season, remains a blue chip prospect. By the time he rounds into a potential NHL starter, Bobby Luo will be in his mid-to-late thirties.

Of course, all of this flies in the face of conventional wisdom and expectations. Big deal. It makes sense. End the two-headed monster in the crease, restore Roberto Luongo to starter status, boost centre-ice depth and scoring prowess, perhaps even free up some other trade options to further fine tune a line-up that clearly is not getting closer to winning a Cup as things stand.

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