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The never-ending rumors and speculation stories surrounding Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo are dominating headlines across Canada.
Even though the Canucks wouldn't have a reliable backup goalie if they traded Luongo, it would be surprising if he is still with Vancouver past the trade deadline.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun explains the current situation:
If the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to deal for Roberto Luongo they’re going to have to sweeten the pot. League sources say Leafs GM Brian Burke and his Canucks counterpart Mike Gillis haven’t spoken about the possibility of a Luongo trade since September.
Garrioch also talks about another potential suitor for the 33-year-old goalie:
Luongo won’t be dealt to the Florida Panthers, which is where he really wants to go, unless they, too, sweeten the pot.
The Leafs have few reasons to not pull the trigger on a Luongo trade. Toronto hasn't finished better than 21st in goals against since the 2004-05 lockout, and even though Luongo's contract has 10 years left on it, there is no better option for the Leafs to upgrade their goaltending.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have zero reasons to make a deal for Luongo, who played for the franchise from 2000-01 through 2005-06.
It's time for top prospect Jacob Markstrom to take over the No. 1 goaltender job in Florida, and acquiring Luongo would only delay that move.