NHL Trade Rumors: Why the New Jersey Devils Should Avoid Roberto Luongo

Joseph KuchieCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 2: Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks deflects a shot on goal during the second period against the New Jersey Devils on December 2, 2009 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

It was reported last week by E.J. Hradek of NHL.com that the Florida Panthers have emerged as the favorite to land Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo in a trade.

According to Hradek, "The Canucks aren't eager to keep a high-profile, big-money player on their roster as a backup goalie. On the flip side, Canucks GM Mike Gillis wants to get some value for Luongo, who’d be an upgrade at the position for the Panthers."

Luongo is scheduled to make $6.7 million with Vancouver this season, but with Cory Schneider expected to start this season, Luongo has become a very expensive backup. Even though some may believe the Devils should have inquired about Luongo, he has no place in New Jersey.

For one, as he was in Vancouver, Luongo would automatically become the backup to Martin Brodeur in New Jersey. The Devils went through weeks of tough negotiations to bring back Brodeur to a two-year, $9 million deal, and there is no way they would bench their Hall of Fame goaltender for an inconsistent netminder.

Luongo has always struggled in the postseason, posting a GAA of 3.22 in 2009-2010 and 3.59 in 2011-2012, ultimately costing him his starting job. Even in 2010-2011, when he led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final, he gave up a combined six goals in Game 6 and 7 which lost him his popularity in Vancouver.

With Brodeur in net, New Jersey has made the playoffs 13 of their last 14 seasons. It doesn't make sense for the Devils, who are consistently a contender in the East, to bring in a goalie who can't finish the job in the postseason.

Brodeur and Luongo are certainly familiar with each other, as Luongo took Brodeur's long-time starting job for Team Canada during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Brodeur would make a great mentor for Luongo and could potentially turn his struggles around, but is it worth mentoring a 32-year-old backup when the future is still in question?

Rather then spend the $6.7 million on a backup goalie, the Devils need to focus on either trading for a top-six forward to replace Zach Parise or sign a veteran winger to fill his spot.

New Jersey would likely have to send top prospects and potentially Johan Hedberg to Vancouver, something the defending Eastern Conference champions shouldn't be willing to do.

The goal for New Jersey is simple: keep starting Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg until a young goaltender is ready to take the helm. Scott Wedgewood seems to be the next option for the Devils, so rather than trading for an older goaltender and spending all that money, they should continue to groom their youth.

Getting a high-profile goaltender like Luongo will likely make headlines, but the Devils need to focus on their future success, and Luongo doesn't seem to make much sense.