Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stats Back it Up: Cory Schneider should start

After last year's early post-season exit at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, the Vancouver Canucks seemed poised to move Roberto Luongo and run with Cory Schneider.  However, whether it was due to the lock out, lack of a trade market, Gillis' expectations, or Luongo's monster contract, a deal never materialized.

When Roberto unexpectedly began the season with Vancouver, his torrid start earned him plenty of starts while Cory Schneider took some time to find his game.  Obviously, this story has garnered plenty of attention over the past few months, yet as of mid-March, both goaltenders boast pretty good statistics overall:

                              GAA      SP%

Roberto Luongo     2.47      0.904

Cory Schneider      2.63     0.910

However, since January's abnormaly strong performances from Luongo, the Canucks' current/former #1 goaltender has been pretty average.  In fact, his numbers are actually below an acceptable level for any starting NHL goaltender since January.   Take a look at his numbers month over month this season:      

Roberto Luongo      GAA      SP%
January                    1.61       0.938
February                  2.40       0.902
March                      3.18       0.881

From February on, his save percentage is well below .900.  Sure, the Canucks were off to an 8-2-2 start and have struggled mightily of late with five wins in 16 games, so perhaps that influences Roberto's numbers.  What about Cory Schneider's numbers over the same time period?

Cory Schneider       GAA       SP%
January                    3.13       0.897
February                  2.49       0.914
March                      2.43       0.916

Hmmm... so despite the team's struggles, Schneider's number continue to improve, while Luongo's are getting worse.  Neither goaltender is winning very often these days thanks to the lack of offence, but Roberto has had third period meltdowns against Detroit twice, Minnesota, and nearly blew a huge lead to Nashville before the Canucks rebounded to win 7-4.

Luongo is a notorious slow-starter who hits his groove later in the year, so what gives?  Perhaps his patience is wearing thin while he waits for a deal out of Vancouver?  There have been crazier theories out there...
For now, it appears as if Cory Schneider may be the goaltender to take the reins for the majority of the starts here on out.  Of course, banishing Luongo to the bench hardly showcases his value to potential suitors.  Then again, neither do third period collapses and a sub .900 SP%.

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