Despite some denials, the tweet earlier from @enricociccone is accurate.The Flyers are interested in Roberto Luongo.— james duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) January 10, 2013
Don't believe Flyers public denials on being interested in Luongo. They're VERY interested— adater (@adater) January 10, 2013
As expected, the Flyers denied the reports (via Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News)
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren on Luongo rumors: "That made me chuckle. Safe to say they aren't true. They have no basis or merit."— Frank Seravalli (@DNFlyers) January 10, 2013
It's not surprising at all that the Flyers are reportedly interested in Luongo given their struggles at the goaltender position over the last decade, in addition to Ilya Bryzgalov's subpar 2011-12 season.
Philadelphia has also proven in the past that it doesn't mind having long-term, back-diving contracts on its payroll. These kinds of deals circumvented the salary cap in the previous CBA, and are no longer allowed in the new agreement.
The issue for the Flyers in acquiring Luongo is that he isn't much of an upgrade over Bryzgalov, and for a team that hasn't won a Stanley Cup since 1975, trading for a goaltender that typically fails when the pressure mounts is not a good idea.
Here are two players' stats over the last three seasons.
Bryzgalov actually played pretty well at times in the playoffs last year, and his stats make him look worse than he really was because the defensive performances in front of him were so awful. Luongo was benched in last year's playoffs and is expected to begin this season as a backup to Cory Schneider.
So, if the Flyers aren't a making a major upgrade by replacing Bryzgalov with Luongo, why would they make this trade? Are there other parts of the deal that would benefit Philadelphia? Dater explains who the Canucks are looking for.
Canucks would like to get Nicklas Grossman in any trade for Luongo. Unclear if Philly will go that far— adater (@adater) January 10, 2013
If unlikely Canucks get Grossman for Luongo, backup ask is for Schenn— adater (@adater) January 10, 2013
Trading Grossmann is a terrible idea because the Flyers' blue line is already a mess with multiple players dealing with injuries recently. Grossmann is one of the few durable defensemen who head coach Peter Laviolette can depend on to be healthy for most of the season.
There's also no reason to trade Schenn because he is a future star and should have a breakout season in 2012-13. Schenn has enormous offensive talent and should be the second line center when Danny Briere leaves the team or doesn't perform at a high level anymore.
Luongo's contract is also a major issue for the Flyers. Not only is Bryzgalov a year younger than the Canucks star, he has a more manageable contract.
|Player||Age||Years Left on Contract||Salary Cap Hit|
|Roberto Luongo||33||10||$5.33 million|
|Ilya Bryzgalov||32||8||$5.66 million|
The Flyers would be much better off making another trade with the Los Angeles Kings and asking what it would take to acquire young backup Jonathan Bernier, who can become a restricted free agent in the summer.
If Philadelphia really wants to make a goalie change this year, acquiring a young and talented goaltender such as Bernier is the best option.
Luongo isn't the answer for the Flyers' struggles in net. Bryzgalov will likely have a bounce-back season and play like the star goaltender he's fully capable of being. He deserves to have one more chance in Philadelphia so he can prove that last year's performance was a fluke.
Playing in a sports town with demanding fans and a tough media like Philadelphia would not be a comfortable situation for Luongo.
The Flyers wouldn't be making themselves better by trading for Luongo, and when you also consider the enormity of his contract and the price that will have to be paid to acquire him, there is absolutely no reason for general manager Paul Holmgren to make this move.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.