After suffering a disappointing first-round series defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, the Vancouver Canucks‘ premature offseason got off to an interesting start Tuesday when goaltender Roberto Luongo said he will waive his no-trade clause if management feels this is the best move for the NHL team.
“Yeah, of course, if they ask me to. I don’t want to be one of those guys who is going to stand in the way of anything. I always want to put the team ahead of me. I don’t want to be one of those selfish guys.”
The 33-year-old Luongo was relegated to bench and replaced by backup Cory Schneider for Games 3, 4 and 5. Schneider is seven years younger than Luongo and his numbers this past season were vastly superior to Luongo’s both during the regular season and the brief playoff run.
“Obviously they have a guy here who is going to be a superstar in this league for the next 10, 12, 15 years so I’m okay with it. It is a business and that’s the way it goes. I’ve loved being here the last six years. If I’m here in the future, then great. If I’m not, that’s good also.”
That doesn’t sound like a guy who’s very confident he’ll be sticking around. But then again, even if the Canucks plan on making Schneider their goaltender of their future, they’re going to have a heck of a time moving Luongo, who still has 10 years and approximately $47 million left on his contract. And time will be of the essence for the Canucks to make a move since Schneider will become a restricted free agent July 1, and there are plenty of teams chomping at the bit to sign him to a contract.
Schneider made $900,000 each of the last two seasons; he’s now expecting a staring job between the pipes to go along with a huge contract.
“I’m not a young prospect anymore, I’m 26, ” Schneider noted. “Roberto and I are both proud guys, we’re both competitors and we want to play. It’s tough for either one of us to sit out, especially considering that he’s been one of the most dominant goalies the past decade in this league and he still has plenty of good years left.”
The Canucks still have a couple months to sort things out, but one thing is for sure, changes are coming between the pipes for Vancouver.