It’s always been the ace up their sleeve, but the Vancouver Canucks have never wanted to play that card.

In attempting to trade Roberto Luongo and his mammoth contract — the nine years and $40.5 million US remaining on his 12-year pact pays $6.7 million the next five seasons and has a salary cap hit of $5.3 million — general manager Mike Gillis continues to talk to four or five teams about moving the 34-year-old stopper. Those talks haven’t produced much because he’s reportedly considering what the market might be for Cory Schneider. It could a matter of kicking the tires, but if nothing comes to fruition with moving Luongo here at the NHL draft — league’s new trade deadline — then the reality of keeping Luongo and trading Schneider has to be at least broached.

The Edmonton Oilers would have rumoured interest in Schneider and the possible return of a first-round pick and a prospect is more than the Canucks are going to get for Luongo. The Oilers own the seventh-overall selection in the 2013 draft on Sunday in Newark, N.J. They have Devan Dubnyk under contract for one more season at $3.5 million and Nikolai Khabibulin is an unrestricted free agent. If Schneider is moved, the Canucks would have Luongo, Eddie Lack, Joacim Eriksson and Joe Cannata in their stable of goaltenders. Although confident in his stoppers, Gillis may add to that group with seven rated in the first two rounds of this draft. The Canucks pick 24th, but surrendered their second-round pick and Kevin Connauton in the Derek Roy trade-deadline acquisition.

At the trade deadline, the Canucks wanted two second-round picks and back-up goalie Ben Scrivens from Toronto but the Maple Leafs wouldn’t budge. Two years ago, there was considerable interest in Schneider from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. With the league’s cap ceiling now $64.3 million, Schneider has two years left on his contract at an attractive $4 million salary cap hit. More importantly, at age 27, he would be attractive to pair with a stopper now or be the starter after going 17-9-4 in the shortened regular season before sustaining a groin strain April 22 in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. With Luongo losing the first two games of the Western Conference quarterfinal series against the San Jose Sharks, Schneider laboured and was yanked in Game 3 after allowing five goals on 28 shots. He responded with a 43-save performance in a 4-3 loss in Game 4 as the Canucks were easily swept aside.