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Cory Schneider, Canucks agree to contract

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

CorySchneiderThe signings just keep on coming.

On Thursday night the Vancouver Canucks announced that the team and restricted free agent goaltender Cory Schneider have agreed to terms on a new contract.

According to Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos, it's a three-year deal worth $12 million, which comes out to an average salary cap hit of $4 million per season.

Schneider was Vancouver's first-round pick, No. 26 overall, back in the 2004 draft, and based on his play over the past three seasons, he seems ready to take over as a No. 1 goalie. And that's something that could happen very soon if the Canucks are able to complete a Roberto Luongotrade before the start of next season.

In 33 games this past season, Schneider posted a 20-8-1 record to go with a .937 save percentage. In 68 career games, he has a .928 save percentage for the Canucks. He's also appeared in eight playoff games over the past two years, including the final three games of the Western Conference Quarterfinal this past season when he replaced Luongo in the starting lineup.

Now that Schneider's deal is completed (at least in principle), the Canucks next order of business would seem to be finding a taker for the remaining portion of Luongo's contract. At this point, it seems like the Florida Panthers are the front runners (if not the only option), even though it doesn't make a ton of sense from their end. While Luongo is still a top goalie for the short-term, his contract could be problematic into the future. Plus, the Panthers already have one of the top goalie prospects in the NHL in Jakob Markstrom. If Luongo goes to Florida, that team is going to be facing the same situation Vancouver faced this offseason -- an established goalie with a huge contract (Luongo) with a young up-and-coming goalie (Markstrom) ready to take over a bigger role.

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Thursday proved to be a huge day for contract extensions as a number of major ones were signed. Pittsburgh agreed to terms with Sidney Crosby on a 12-year deal, and the Los Angeles Kings came to a similar agreement with goalie Jonathan Quick on a 10-year contract. The Bruins also agreed to terms on a one-year contract with their starter for this season, Tuukka Rask.

Earlier in the week, the Winnipeg Jets signed their own starting goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, a restricted free agent, to a five-year deal worth just under $20 million.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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