The William M. Jennings Trophy is awarded annually to the goalies for the team that allows the fewest goals against. The Vancouver Canucks have allowed 181 goals this season, three fewer than the Boston Bruins, who have four games remaining to the Canucks three. If the Canucks can avoid ugly performances like Saturday's flop, there's a good chance that the Canucks goalies will take home the prize.
Or rather, Roberto Luongo will take home the prize.
In order to be eligible for the Jennings Trophy, a goalie needs to have played a minimum of 25 games. While Vigneault has made good on the promise to rest Luongo and give Schneider at least 20 starts this season (with 21 so far), Schneider has still only played in 23 games. The problem is that Luongo is having too good a season: he's only been pulled twice this year. The first was the oddball game in Minnesota in which Rypien stole the show by attempting to steal a fan and the second was the Voldemort game: that which shall not be named. Other than that, Luongo has been too dang good to get pulled.
What this means is that, after starting on Saturday against the Oilers, Schneider needs to play two more games to qualify for the William M. Jennings Trophy. Which means he'll need to start 2 of the final 3 games because it's incredibly unlikely that Luongo will need to get pulled. Simultaneously, he and the rest of the Canucks need to be good enough to avoid allowing an abundance of goals against, or Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask (who has played enough games to qualify) will win the award instead. And no one wants that.
Frankly, Schneider deserves to be honoured. He has been the ideal back-up goaltender, not just giving the Canucks a chance to win when he plays, but outright stealing games at times. He has faced 40 or more shots three times this season; he has won each of those games. His performance and dependability is one of the main reasons the Canucks have such a stellar goals against average. It would be a shame if the Canucks won the Jennings and only Luongo had his name on the trophy.
Unfortunately, it may not be in the cards. On Saturday, with Roberto Luongo and Alain Vigneault set to appear on After Hours, we submitted a question regarding this issue, and Elliotte Friedman put it to Alain Vigneault (at 6:16 of clip). AV was apparently unaware that Schneider needed two more games, stated that Luongo would start on Tuesday against Edmonton, and indicated that they have a plan. It seems doubtful that the plan was in place for Schneider to start the final two games of the season and unlikely that they will deviate from that plan. It's more likely that Luongo and Schneider will split the final two starts, leaving Schneider one measly game short.
Let's face it: now that the Canucks have sewn up the Presidents' Trophy, the only thing left to play for in the regular season is individual accolades. Last season, the entire team came together to help Henrik win the Art Ross Trophy. They should be able to the same for Luongo and Schneider. Alain Vigneault needs to play Cory Schneider in two more games this season, even if it means putting him in for the final five minutes of game 82 if the Jennings trophy is signed, sealed, and delivered. He's earned it.