Canuck Player Autopsy : Cory Schneider

Derek Leung

For a city and team that often is referred to as a goalie graveyard, the Vancouver Canucks are now replacing the best goalie of his generation, and definitely the best one ever in Blue and Green, with another that has the talent and potential to be even better. No pressure Cory...you know what we want.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

Cory Schneider : aka Ginja Ninja, C-Wall, Schneids, and"The Chosen One" .

Born: Marblehead Mass. USA. They speak English there, but it sounds a little funny.

Drafted: 1st ( 26th overall ) by the Vancouver Canucks in 12004. Before NBC analyst and awful general manager Mike Milbury decided to trade him to Florida for, well, not that much.

Position: Last line of defense.

Catches: Left

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 195 lbs

Contract Status: finally got the "big bucks", and is signd through 2014-15

Cap Hit: $4,000,000

WHAT DID HE DO?

Stepped into the eye of the hurricane and handled the storm like a cold stone groove. It cannot be easy to take over being "The Man" from your best friend, the guy that has taught you how to take his spot. Roberto Luongo will be fine. He is very well compensated, and will flourish in where ever his new home is. But Cory Schneider not only handled the net like he should, but obviously learned from his friend's ups and downs with the local media by answering questions honestly and frankly. He might be even better at the public face than Roberto is ( even though only a few of us acknowledged that in Lui until the rest of the world caught up and clued in through Strombone1 ), and that is no small feat in one of the most demanding media markets in the NHL.

We won't get too much into how it ended, as it turns out the guy was injured a bit when he tried to rally the team in their ill fated playoffs of 2013. That is what it is, and I really don't think that those two games are the fair picture of the young man.

That is more told by the 17-9-4-5 record in 30 games played this year. It is highlighted by some pretty decent numbers, that are also, strangely enough, his most pedestrian of the last three years! A .927 sv % is pretty damn good over 30 games, and the 2.11 GAA this past year is not that bad either. But if you are wondering why the Canucks are distracted by the shiny new toy when they already own the Lego Death Star ( simply the best toy EVER! ), consider the other two years. In 2010-11, he was in 25 games, and went 16-4-2-1, with an eye popping .929 sv % and a 2.23 GAA on the way to sharing the Jennings trophy with Luongo. The next year, he definitely showed he was no fluke in 33 games, with a 20-8-1-3, with a .937 sv % and a 1.96 GAA.

That is the year I think he won the job in the GM's eyes. No offense to Lui, of course. But the kid has a .927 over 3 years so far. If he can maintain his standard of play as the #1 in the coming years, that kind of standing in the most important of the goaltender stats ( ask goalies. They all say save %. Well, after wins, of course! ) is pretty impressive.

SO WAS HE ANY GOOD?

What did I just say!? Was he any good this past year though? Well, there was that one period where he started what seemed about 1/3rd of the shortened season in a row, seemingly. The team looked at it's best in that run, and while the team also did not attain some of the heights of the recent past, it was still on a 100+ point pace, which is definitely as good as in recent years. They just did it without the dominating defensive or offensive stats we were used to seeing when we went to NHL.com .

In fact, this year was one where the team stats were pretty much middle of the road. 5 on 5 they were 17th. The power play was not that good, at 22nd. The penalty kill, one of the areas where the goaltenders can make a difference, was 8th overall. But in relation to other seasons, where the Canucks dominated the Top 5 in so many metrics, this year was not the best for the team.

But, and don't take this the wrong way, but it was not the goalies' fault.

It is a team game, of course, and I was not meaning to absolve the 'tenders in any way. But goaltending is a strength of this club, and will continue to be with Cory Schneider. I mean, even with a somewhat more trying season than we are used to, when our warriors are dominating the stat lists, and only a bit more than half of a season makes up the whole thing, ( to say nothing of only playing Western teams. Everyone knows that this conference is better, and certainly is the tougher conference defensively )...but even with ALL that, the Canucks were 11th overall in GA/G, tied with Columbus and Anahiem at 2.40 ( the Hawks led this one at 2.02 GA/G ).

Room for improvement? Of course. That is why changes are coming, and a new coach is being introduced tomorrow!

But the future still looks bright. Cory Schneider looks ready to be a leader, and definitely has the talent to fill the very BIG shoes being left behind.

WHAT DID WE LIKE?

I like Cory Schneider, as much as Roberto Luongo. His sense of humour is definitely NHL level... Here's the proof from that hilarious After Hours from a year ago...

How about these ones though? I think I like the Carrey the best, but the Carey is pretty awesome too!

Now, lest we forget about why we are here, check out these saves...

Or this one of course

There you are. Folks may tell you that "your team has a window closing" or, "Tortorella is going to make the Sedins block shots or he is gonna bench them", but no worries on the goaltending folks!

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