On Saturday's edition of the Hotstove on Hockey Night in Canada, the paneldiscussed the goaltending dilemma in Vancouver, and the unfortunate developments surrounding the Phoenix Coyotes' ownership search.
Coming into the start of the season, Cory Schneider was proclaimed the No. 1 goalie for the Canucks, and it was only a matter of time before Roberto Luongo was dealt to another team. But with Luongo playing well of late, it's put the organization in a difficult situation.
Luongo is 2-0-2 with a 1.46 GAA and a .944 save percentage this season. He posted a win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, his third straight start in net.
If there is a goaltending controversy, Luongo has certainly helped his own cause.
“As accomplished as he is, he rebuilt his game this off-season,” said Hockey Night in Canada analyst Kevin Weekes. “He spent a lot of time in Florida with goalie coach [Francois Allaire]. He worked with him extensively, rebuilt his game, his glove hand is spot on, the footwork’s a lot better. He looks like a different goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks.”
The panel also suggested that the Canucks are in a position of power, having two elite goalies on their team pushing each other.
“People say that Vancouver has to make a move on one of these two guys. No they don't,” said Hockey Night in Canada analyst Elliotte Friedman. “They've had this situation for two years. And the two of them have handled it extremely well, they’ll continue doing it.”
Friedman said that if the Canucks were to re-think their choice and trade Schneider instead, the price for the 26-year-old would be even higher than what they’re asking for the veteran Luongo.
Schneider is 2-2-0 with a 3.13 GAA and a .897 save percentage.
The panel also touched on the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes after prospective owner Greg Jamison missed the deadline to complete the purchase of the team on Thursday.
There was optimism when Glendale City council approved a lease that would pay Jamison $308 million US over 20 years to operate Jobing.com Arena. But he wasn’t able to find investors, and now the state of the franchise is in limbo once again.
“Three choices here,” explained Hockey Night in Canada analyst Glenn Healy. “You either keep the team there and sell it for way less, you relocate the team and have lawsuits, or fold the team, sell an expansion franchise and recoup your losses.”
Healy reported that $170 million is the asking price for the club.
But as Friedman reported on Saturday, at least one thing is certain: if Phoenix were to relocate next season, there would not be a second team in Toronto.