The rumours surrounding Roberto Luongo and the Toronto Maple Leafs have certainly subsided, but it's time to end them once and for all.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been criticized for several issues over the years, primarily due to a lack of talent and poor management. The time has come for the goaltenders to take some knocks as well after questionable performances in the previous NHL season.
The Canucks are currently at a standstill with Luongo and up-and-comer Cory Schneider, as both are starting-caliber netminders, but only one can be given the mantle.
Based on these rumours, and the conclusion of the season, it seems the Canucks have already made their choice.
But why is this necessary for the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Luongo is set to have a cap hit of $5,333,333 till 2021-22, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have much larger holes to fill.
Last season, James Reimer started 34 games and had a record of 14-14-5 with a .900 save percentage and 3.10 goals-against average. Ben Scrivens, on the other hand, had a record of 4-5-2 with a similar save percentage and goals-against average.
It should be noted that there were only seven players on the entire roster with a positive plus/minus rating, and none of them were defensemen.
How can the goaltending be blamed when they're sporting 90-plus save percentages, and the defensemen, who get paid significantly more, all have minus ratings?
Should the Maple Leafs pursue another starting goaltender?
It's their job to stop pucks from getting to the net as well.
The poor performance of the Toronto Maple Leafs cannot be pinpointed to one individual or one position. The fact of the matter is that the Maple Leafs are in need of many things (a first-line center comes to mind), and with Jonathan Bernier as a legitimate trade candidate, Luongo would be a $5 million-plus mistake.
Brian Burke seems to understand this, as he addressed the rumours of Luongo joining the Maple Leafs after the NHL lockout back in mid-November.
It would seem more plausible to have a split situation between the two worthiest performers of Reimer, Bernier and Scrivens, while the odd man out would have to start with the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies to improve his game.
May the best man win.
If the price for Bernier remains too high, the Maple Leafs should give Reimer and Scrivens a chance to play; it's not like Roberto Luongo guarantees a playoff spot anyway.
While names like Luongo might seem dandy on paper, the Maple Leafs are still in development mode and there isn't a better time to give younger, less-paid players a chance to shine. Luongo is an aging starter and should not be considered an option for a franchise with more obvious problems to address going forward.