Fallout from Luongo injury: Schneider on our radar

November, 24, 2008
Curtis Sanford is first in line to try to stop pucks for the Vancouver Canucks, and he should. But we'd be surprised if call-up Cory Schneider didn't take the most advantage of Roberto Luongo's injury.

Schneider, Vancouver's first-round pick in 2004 (26th overall), was 10-1-0 and led the AHL with a 1.37 goals-against average and .945 save percentage when he was called up by the Canucks this past weekend. In other words, the 22-year-old was the best netminder in the AHL.

"He's the best young goalie in the game not named Carey Price," one industry source told ESPN.com on Monday.

We're not quite ready to go that far, but it should be interesting to see what he has to offer once he gets the chance.

If Schneider does earn a decent shot at starting and performs well, it's the silver lining in a gut-wrenching injury for Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Schneider may make other NHL GMs salivate and give Gillis an important asset before the March 4 trade deadline if the GM wants to upgrade elsewhere.

Luongo is listed as "week to week," which in all likelihood means anywhere from two to four weeks. That timeline is not nearly as bad as the original whispers this past weekend, as one rumor suggested he'd be out more than two months.

Still, if Luongo is out a month, that's a big test for the Canucks. And you wonder how it affects Mats Sundin's thinking. The Canucks have been playing great hockey, making themselves more and more alluring to the free-agent center. Plus, they have the most salary-cap space of the teams interested to make a deal. But now Vancouver's captain and MVP is out.

How the Canucks cope without Luongo the next few weeks will be important, to say the least, as they try seal the deal with Sundin.



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