I agree that Luongo's contract is a tough one to hang on to. I understand that Luongo will not be in his "prime" for the duration of his contract. However, I'm also very aware that Lu will be regarded as one of the best goaltenders of all time. I'm also very confident in the fact that for the next 2-4 years, Luongo will still be considered a great goalie in this league, and essentially in his "prime." What about the rest of our team? Sedins, Burrows, Kesler, Bieksa, Garrison, Edler, and Hamhuis can be considered as part of our core, and together will be in their "prime" for another.. Lets say 2-4 years for simplicity's sake. Now if we were to trade Schneider, we still have a full team in their prime, plus the return for Schneider (which IMO would be greater than the return for Luongo). However, if we trade Luongo, we are essentially moving to a goaltender who isn't in his prime, and in a holistic sense downgrading in that position. I understand fully that Schneider will be a goalie of the future. However, if our cup window is closing, we may as well go all in, and win this thing in the next 2-4 years when our whole team is in its prime, PLUS the return for Schneider PLUS the development of Kassian and Shroeder.
You have a good argument, but I disagree with one of your assumptions. I don't think the Canucks are in "win now" mode. They never will be under Gillis. What Gillis is looking for is to remain competitive year in year out, but he is never going to trade our future to increase our chances at winning over a small window.
There's evidence of this. He never seems to trade a younger player for an older player, or at least he never trades for rentals. in the case of draft picks for players, usually they are for players that end up signing multi-year deals with us like Higgins and Lapierre, players who are ultimately about as good or better than what is typical of the picks they were traded for. In the case of Ballard, I think his scouts were expecting much more out of him, and we needed depth defense bad. All in all, it was long term, and Ballard was relatively young for a D-man.
So what's the strategy? I figure Gillis is looking to get into the playoffs every year, because teams that do that end up winning eventually. You can have the best team on paper, but you can never account for the reality of illness, injuries, player's on hot streaks, player's personal lives, media, and all around luck. The fact is teams that win the Cup look different every year. Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago all had mediocre goalies. Now that Boston and LA won, there is a huge focus on goaltending. Part of this is a changing culture of hockey every year, but a lot of it is that there is no formula. Everyone assumes whoever wins has the "formula," but most of it is timing, health, mentality, and luck. The only way to take advantage of this is to remain competitive every year, and wait for the year that your team is hot at the right time.
Gillis now sees what you see. We have players in their prime, and that this window is closing. What does he say? We need to get younger. What we will see in the next few years is the introduction of our younger players on ELC's that will be on the upswing of their careers. Most won't be superstars, but they have ironed out most of their quirks in the AHL, and they will have great mentors in our veterans. They will play to and above the value of their ELC contracts, and that will see us through the expensive years of our veteran's contracts, allowing us to remain competitive.
Edit: if it isn't clear, we are keeping Schneider.
Edited by bluesy_shoes, 28 January 2013 - 12:42 PM.