Could the New York Islanders Be a Possibility for Roberto Luongo?
Although Roberto Luongo's fate has yet to be determined, the number of possible destinations is rumored to be low.
So far, it's been rumored that if Luongo does get moved, he will be sent to the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs or Chicago Blackhawks. Longshots in the sweepstakes would be the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.
But what about the New York Islanders?
Many people discounted the Islanders because, while they do have plenty (over $20 million) of cap room, they also have numerous players that are set for a pay increase within the next few years. In addition, the tandem of Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov was one that had potential to shine.
But now, Evgeni Nabokov remains a talented yet aging and risky player, and Montoya is a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Of course, the Islanders do still have their "No. 1 goalie" Rick DiPietro, but at this point it's a safer bet to say he'll be injured next season than healthy.
In addition to the loss of Al Montoya, the Islanders parted ways with P.A. Parenteau and acquired Lubomir Visnovsky. While Visnovsky's $5.6 million cap hit is significant, he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Parenteau, on the other hand, was one of those talented young players due for a pay increase. While it would have been nice to see him return to the Islanders, this frees up the team to go after higher contracts such as Roberto Luongo.
Some may argue that Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin have what it takes for starter material, but with inexperience comes risk. With an all-star roster becoming realized, this is not a franchise that can afford a variable in-net.
Luongo, however, has proven that he is capable of being an elite goaltender year after year. While he does have issues in the playoffs, the first step for the Islanders right now is simply finishing in the top eight in the east.
So, the question remains, does Garth Snow have faith in Nabokov, DiPietro, Poulin and Nilsson, or will he be acquiring help from elsewhere? And if he is looking elsewhere, is he willing to pick up the significant contract of Roberto Luongo?
Perhaps more importantly, is Luongo willing to waive his no-trade clause to bring his talents back to the Island where it all began?
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