Since Ed Belfour, the Leafs’ goaltenders have been downright abysmal.
From Andrew Raycroft to Vesa Toskala, Toronto has not had any luck between the pipes. With that being said, the Leafs should not jump at the opportunity to trade for Roberto Luongo just because of his success in the past.
Not only is he not the starting goaltender on his current team, but Luongo’s getting old and has one of the longest and most expensive contracts in the league.
The Leafs would be better off acquiring a younger, cheaper goaltender and then spend the leftover money elsewhere.
Even if the Leafs can stay under the cap with Luongo this year, no one knows what situation they’ll be in five to eight years down the road.
Paying a goalie with a cap hit of $5.33 million per season until 2022 is a huge financial risk, especially one who has been benched the last two playoff series he has been in.
Although it’s clear the Leafs are in desperate need for a new goaltender, paying one for the next nine years with an annual salary north of $5 million isn't the most financially viable decision.
Although 33 is not a tremendously old age for a goalie, the Leafs are currently not in a position to contend for a Stanley Cup and there's a very low chance they’ll be able to in the next two to three years.
Therefore, by the time Toronto is ready to contend, Luongo could very well be way past his prime and the Leafs could once again be searching for a franchise goaltender.
Everyone knows that to get something in a trade, you have to give up something.
The Leafs would need to give up draft picks, prospects and/or one of their young defensemen. Also, teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks could both use goaltending and would therefore raise the asking price for Luongo.
In my opinion, the Leafs should be rebuilding right now and, with the fact there's no guarantee they will make the postseason with “Lu,” the team should try and acquire a younger goaltender this offseason.
Although Luongo has dealt with pressure before (winning a gold medal and taking the Canucks to the Cup Finals), dealing with the Toronto media on a day-to-day basis is an entirely different thing.
Lu’s best statistical season was with Florida—a city not known for its hockey market. Luongo didn't live up to expectations in last year’s finals.
Luongo has shown the pressure can get to him and playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs would not make it any easier.
Although the Leafs badly need a goaltender, if they trade for Luongo, they will have very little money to add other pieces to help the hockey club going forward.
Toronto still needs a No. 1 centre and, although they have a core of young defensemen, their defense was shaky last year.
The Leafs could get away with acquiring a cheaper goaltender, leaving money to acquire other pieces to help the team contend for the playoffs next year.