Over their 50-year history, the Vancouver Canucks have had many players come through the doors of Rogers Arena and the Pacific Coliseum. It’s hard to remember them all, especially when they were more well-known in another jersey.
In this series, we are going to look back at some former NHLers that played for the Canucks but do not come to mind as such when we think of their NHL careers.
When someone mentions Mathieu Schneider’s name, most think of the former defenseman’s time in Montreal or Detroit. The former Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympian played for 10 teams in his illustrious career, with his final NHL contract being signed with the Vancouver Canucks. Although his time with the team lasted 17 games, he did have an impact, registering five points in the 2009-10 season.
Schneider’s Career Before the Canucks
Before signing a one-year deal with the Canucks, Schneider enjoyed a successful career where he racked up over 1,200 games and over 700 points. He ranked in the top five for all-time points amongst American-born defensemen and had over 200 goals throughout his career. His crowning moment came in the 1992-93 season when he helped the Montreal Canadiens capture the last Stanley Cup by a Canadian team.
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Throughout his career, Schneider shined wherever he played. He led all defensemen in the 2005-06 season with 21 goals and exceeded 40 points throughout his 20-year career on eight occasions. In the 2009-10 season, he wanted one more kick at a second Stanley Cup, so he decided to sign with the Canucks as they presented one of the best opportunities around the league.
Schneider Signs in Vancouver
When Schneider signed with the Canucks, the hope was he could quarterback one of the power-play units. Vancouver had just lost Mattias Öhlund to the Lightning and were hoping the 20-year veteran could take his place. There was already a connection to Vancouver as his former agent, Mike Gillis, was the general manager at the time. This probably helped convince him to sign with the Canucks in the summer of 2009. During his 17 games with the franchise, he put up two power-play points while averaging 2:48 of power-play time on ice per game.
When he arrived in Vancouver, Schneider had just turned 40 and was on the decline. He had trouble keeping up with the play and was benched four times throughout the season. Eventually, he, along with GM Gillis, decided it was best to move on. The veteran of over 1,250 NHL games was placed on waivers and sent to the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Manitoba Moose.
Trouble in Manitoba
While in the AHL, Schneider played eight games and registered five points. While he contributed to the team, his arrival caused some issues because it meant the Moose were now over the allowed NHL veteran cap, and the team was forced to sit a veteran for him to play. His stay in the minors was short before he finally got his wish and was traded from the Canucks.
End of a Short Era
On March 3, 2010, The Vancouver Canucks finally found a team willing to take on Schneider as he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for Sean Zimmerman and a 2010 sixth-round pick. He finished his career with the Coyotes, playing eight regular-season games and three in the playoffs.
As for the Canucks, they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs. As for the players the Canucks received in the trade, Zimmerman never played a game in the NHL, while the sixth-round pick turned into Alex Friesen, who suited up for one game with the Canucks during the 2015-16 season. Although the prospects never worked out, it was a positive move as both the team and player could go their separate ways after the relationship fell apart.
Life After Hockey
After he retired, Schneider was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. He is currently ranked 22nd all-time in career points amongst defensemen in NHL history and is just ahead of Canucks legend Dave Babych on the list. He currently is part of the NHLPA and is helping the next wave of players as an advisor to Donald Fehr.
Canucks All-Time Rank’s
Games Played: 17GP (T475th)
Goals: 2 G (T356th)
Assists: 3 A (T384th)
Points: 5 P (T389th)
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Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.