Roberto Luongo vs. Cory Schneider

steve laidlaw

2013-07-03

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Cage Match: who is the better fantasy own – Roberto Luongo or Cory Schnieder?

 

 

 

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft came and went without many fireworks. Seth Jones dropping to the fourth pick was an intriguing development but the lone true shocker was the Canucks' trade sending Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth overall selection. There are plenty of angles to take in discussing that deal but this is Cage Match so there is really only one that matters now – who is better, Schneider or Roberto Luongo?

 

Goalies are always tough to assess because pure talent is only half the story. It takes an incredible amount of situational luck to create a great fantasy netminder. If this were just about pure talent I would have to side with Schneider.

 

Schneider is bigger, younger and more technically sound. He's a replica of what works in today's NHL, which is protecting the bottom of the net at all costs using great length and flexibility, while also using size along with an extensive knowledge of angles to block as much of the net as possible. This isn't to say that Schneider doesn't have solid athleticism and reflexes and general skills but the simple fact is that on most shots he has played the odds as best he can. In other words, he's a safe goalie but he has the rebound control, instincts and athleticism to be an elite starter. The only question is whether or not he can bring that over an 82-game season.

 

Schneider may not yet get that chance. With Brodeur still in tow and indicating that so long as he feels good he will be back the Devils will be compelled to keep Brodeur around and keep him active. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The days of the everyday 70-games-a-year starter are over. Goaltending is too demanding. Starters need rest and they need help. Schneider has proven that for short stretches he can run as the full time starter. Asking him to play too many games may be a stretch at this point.

 

If by chance Brodeur gets asked to ride in the backseat while Schneider takes the reigns full time then we will have some questions to ask about Schneider's durability but until that point we can probably count on Schneider to be at his peak level in terms of readiness.

 

The only issue is whether or not the team in front of Schneider will help him reach his peak performance. There are serious questions to be asked about the Devils' organization and their ability to field a truly competitive team over the next few years. The franchise is potentially in dire straits financially, so their ability to spend enough to field a proper team is in question. Of course, teams (the Devils included) have competed in the past despite an internal budget so team finances alone cannot be considered enough to write off these Devils.

 

What could write them off is a serious lack of talent in the system. The team has already lost their franchise player and former captain Zach Parise and could be facing more losses in free agency this summer. Losing top players to free agency does open up cap space, which could be spent to acquire new talent but one cannot assume that there is anything resembling a lineup of players looking to land in New Jersey. So this summer, with long time Devils Patrick Elias and David Clarkson looking at unrestricted free agency, the Devils could be looking at a crippling exodus of talent.

That exodus i