Roberto Luongo's mega 12-year contract with Vancouver may well be coming around to bite him in the back side. The team that picks him up would also have to pick up a $5.33 million cap hit through 2021-22.
Add to it the fact that Luongo's contract also has a no-trade clause which makes things all the more interesting.
Most hockey fans have really got to be scratching their heads on this one. The player that Chicago fans love to hate, having lost his starting goaltending position to Canucks back-up Cory Schneider, is now telling anyone who will listen that he will only allow a trade to the Chicago Blackhawks or the Florida Panthers.
Luongo has stated that Chicago and Florida are two places he would like to go.
While that is all well and good; the real question is, does either team want him and his hefty cap hit? Another question comes to mind with regard to a possible move to Chicago: would the fan base there welcome him or do what they have done for the past six years and continue making his life hell?
Will he be just be moving from one hostile environment to another?
While some are weighting the pros and cons of Luongo in a Hawks jersey, the only question that needs to be asked is, can Chicago's roster take that $5.33 million cap hit for the next six years? We all know the answer is no. But with GM Stan Bowman's unconventional decision making of late, the chances of him trying to make this work are not outside the realm of possibility.
Luongo is now 33 years old and, for all intents and purposes, still has that proverbial monkey on his back when it comes to high pressure playoff failures. Yes, in 2010-11 he and the Canucks were finally able to close out the Blackhawks in a playoff situation, but Luongo seemed to once again cave to the pressure when it counted most against the Bruins in the finals.
According to Cap Geek, Chicago has approximately $7.7 million in cap space at the writing of this article, while Vancouver has $0 and over $9 million of space tied up in two goaltenders. Will Stan be crazy enough to play against these kinds of odds while the team is still in need of a second line center and some substantial help on defense?
After striking out with the offer to New Jersey's Zach Parise, who instead signed with the Minnesota Wild, will Stan be looking for a high profile move like this one with Luongo to keep the media attention on the Blackhawks?
It has to be said that Stan's moves haven't been making a whole lot of sense as of late. This possible deal with Luongo might be just what will turn Hawk fans against Stan Bowman for good.
While I have often been a Luongo apologist, until someone gets in his head and figures out why he cannot consistently go to that level of competitiveness needed to win a Stanley Cup, Stan should steer clear of any deal with Luongo.
With Chicago's goaltending situation presently focused on Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, there really is no logical place for Luongo.
He certainly cannot play out the rest of his contract on the bench, much like Marty Turco did for just one year in the aftermath of the loss of Antti Niemi to San Jose in the summer of 2010. Turco was only a one year deal, and with Luongo we are looking at six years.
No one in their right mind is going to pay a goaltender $5.3 million to sit on the bench—Chicago fans learned that lesson in the not so distant past with Cristobal Huet.
In a radio interview on Vancouver's 99.3 The Fox, Luongo has been quoted as saying, "It's time to move on." He continued to say that Chicago is definitely one of the places he would like to go.
While Luongo is quite comfortable with the Blackhawks goal song, "Chelsea Dagger," one would be hard pressed to find any real positives in bringing Roberto Luongo to Chicago. Florida, with two strong goaltenders in their mid-30's in Scott Clemmensen and José Theodore, don't really seem to be in the market for someone like Luongo either.
It should be entertaining to see what happens to Roberto Luongo before the July 20th buy-out date.
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