VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Canucks added some goaltending insurance Tuesday, acquiring Jason LaBarbera from the Los Angeles Kings for a seventh-round pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
LaBarbera joins incumbents Curtis Sanford and Cory Schneider, who have been sharing goaltending duties since starter Roberto Luongo was placed on injured reserve Nov. 23 with a groin injury.
Luongo resumed skating on his own Tuesday, but isn’t expected to be ready for game action for at least three weeks.
Sanford will also be out for a while after sustaining a groin injury Tuesday during the team’s morning skate. He felt well enough to start that night’s 3-2 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, but was replaced at the start of the second period by backup Schneider.
Sanford was placed on the injured list after the game. LaBarbera is expected to get his first start with the Canucks at Nashville on Thursday.
“We didn’t know the severity of it this morning,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of Sanford’s injury. “He thought after the warmup that he could go, but you could tell on their first two goals that he wasn’t moving properly. At the end of the day he wanted to try and I have to trust his instincts there.
“Injuries are part of the game and the goaltender that we picked up has played some really good games for us in the past. He’s an NHL goaltender that is going to get an opportunity to play.”
Sanford and Luongo are considered week-to-week.
Sanford has assumed played the majority of games and complied a 7-6 record in Luongo’s absence.
Schneider, called up from the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League, has a 2-3-1 mark and an .866 save percentage.
The 28-year-old LaBarbera went 5-8-4 with a 2.83 goals-against average, an .893 save percentage and two shutouts in 18 games with the Kings this season. The Burnaby, B.C., native was deemed expendable with the improved play of Jonathan Quick, who recorded a pair of shutouts for Los Angeles last week.
LaBarbera, taken by the New York Rangers in the third round of the 1998 draft, has a 34-42-8 record with a 3.00 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and four shutouts in 98 career games with the Rangers and Kings. He’ll make US$850,000 this season, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
With files from The Associated Press