The Edmonton Oilers have decided to give Devan Dubnyk the opportunity to prove that he is capable of being a solid goaltender in the NHL, but would trading trading for Roberto Luogno make sense for the club?
That answer should be a resounding no.
With the recent addition of Nail Yakupov to a stable of valuable young forwards, including Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the team would definitely have the assets available to make a serious effort in an attempt to land the talented goaltender.
It wouldn't make sense to dismantle such a promising foundation.
Luongo to the Oilers may seem like it makes sense for the present, but will ultimately come at the cost of the future.
Along with one of the talented forwards previously mentioned, the Oilers would likely have to include either Dubnyk or another goaltending prospect in Oliver Roy or Tyler Bunz, as well as a first-round draft pick to land Luongo.
A steep price for an aging goaltender.
Luongo is currently 33 years old and has already played 727 games in his NHL career. To this point in his career he has proven to be a reliable workhorse, but it is unlikely Luongo will be able to log as much ice time as he continues to get older.
Throughout the remainder of his contract, Luongo will represent a $5.3 million salary cap hit, which could eventually come back to hinder the Oilers should they indeed decide to pursue him.
Luongo is a proven veteran, but has come under quite a bit of fan and media scrutiny during his tenure with the Vancouver Canucks. His numbers have been more than respectable, however, with the former Florida Panther averaging 38 wins over his six years with the Canucks.
While Luongo is almost assuredly an upgrade in net over Dubnyk, the Oilers are likely to give him a legitimate chance to prove himself seeing, as they recently awarded Dubnyk with a two-year contract worth $7 million—a deal that could prove relatively affordable should Dubnyk seize the opportunity and impress next season.
However, should that not be the case, 2013 offers plenty of opportunities to add a veteran goaltender via free agency.
The following players will be unrestricted free agents following the conclusion of next season:
- Niklas Backstrom, 34, Minnesota Wild
- Tim Thomas, 38, Boston Bruins
- Jimmy Howard, 28, Detroit Red Wings
- Mike Smith, 30, Phoenix
Thomas would be a wild card, if the Oilers were able to lure him out of his self imposed sabbatical. Howard and Smith are likely to re-sign with their current teams but the Oilers would be wise to attempt to acquire one of these talented goaltenders instead of trading for Luongo.
While the Oilers have goaltending prospects in Roy and Bunz, both are a few years away from having any impact on the NHL level, meaning that if the Oilers are going to upgrade their goaltending situation, a trade or free agency signing is going to be the only way to do so.
With the talent that Edmonton has accumulated, they wouldn't have any trouble finding a trading partner should they decide that they are willing to part with one of the their young forwards and a draft pick.
It would be wise to see what possibilities would be out there, rather than be saddled with an aging goaltender with a large contract in Luongo.