Tough questions abound about Canucks' goaltending

The decision over the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending position might be the most important of general manager Mike Gillis’s administration but, in analyzing things as they stand, there is one number that stands out for Roberto Luongo.

It is not the 10 years he has left on his contract. It’s not the $5.333 million US annual cap hit he represents. It’s not even the number of Stanley Cups he’s won.

No, those are all relevant in the great Vancouver goaltending debate but the most important number connected to Luongo is this: 21,743.

And that isn’t the number of times Canucks’ fans have called the open-mouth shows saying: “We can’t win with this guy.’’

That number, in fact, represents the number of shots Luongo has faced in his 12-season NHL career. It is the third-highest total among current NHL goalies which isn’t overly alarming. But dig a little deeper and you begin to understand the Canucks may be confronting the law of diminishing returns with Luongo and, given what Cory Schneider represents, that creates a dilemma for Gillis.

At least it should.

Schneider turns 26 next month. Luongo turns 33 in two months. Over the last two seasons, Schneider has played 46 games and put up numbers worthy of a Vezina finalist.

We’ll give you there’s a Pacific Ocean’s worth of difference between a relative neophyte who’s enjoyed two notable half seasons and a goalie with Luongo’s body of work.

But, considering what’s at stake here, a number of factors have to be considered.

The two active goalies who’ve faced more rubber in their career than Luongo are Marty Brodeur and Nikolai Khabibulin. Brodeur, of course, is from another planet. Now in his 19th season, he turns 40 in May and he’s already played more games than any goalie in NHL history.

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3 Responses to Tough questions abound about Canucks' goaltending

  1. reinjosh says:

    So apparently Tuuka Rask is becoming frustrated with not getting more playing time. His quotes paraphrased say he feels that no matter how well he plays, no matter if he gets a shutout and plays spectacularly, he gets the bench. He then mentioned how he doesn't want to do that for the rest of his career.

    What does Boston do? Trade Thomas? After his whole political comments, it might be time. Lots of teams would kill to have him, even at his older age. 
    Personally I can't see them trading him at least until the summer. Why do it when you have another great shot at a cup? If one of your goalies get hurt, you have a perfect replacement. 
    What would Boston even want?
  2. mapleleafsfan says:

    Definitely can't see them trading him until the offseason. The only teams that would be interested would be contenders with potential goalie problems (ie. chicago), and why would boston jeopardize their shot at a cup to make a player happy for a few more months.. Thomas is a goalie that could steal a series no problem, last thing boston would want would be to trade him to a team like chicago and then get beaten by him in the finals. 

    Come the off season though, I can't see his value being overly high. Unless he proves it again this playoffs, he really is getting old. Teams trading for him will only have him for a year or two and whether or not his play slips is a pretty big gamble. 
  3. SabresFan220 says:

    Tim Thomas and Tukka Rask are benefitting from a very strong defense in front of them. Yes, they are both very athletic and can be spectacular at times. However, it's rebounds and breakdowns, and follow up opportunities that turn into goals, and when you rarely see a 2nd shot you can have staggering numbers like these 2 do. Thomas is getting older, and he's only signed through next season. Rask is restricted, and unless he refuses to sign and forces a trade, or takes an offer sheet, Boston will be keeping him. Either way they will get a sizeable return for him if they lose him. After his current contract Thomas will probably either retire or sign short term deals that aren't so expensive. Rask will be #1 in Boston if he's patient, and if he's not he could get a shot in another city. But the Bruins will fleece whoever wants him badly enough either way.

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