NHL Trade Rumors: Acquiring Roberto Luongo Would Be a Disaster For Flyers

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NHL Trade Rumors: Acquiring Roberto Luongo Would Be a Disaster For Flyers
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The Philadelphia Flyers' reported interest in Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo makes absolutely no sense. Acquiring him would be a disaster for the Flyers.

According to James Duthie of TSN and Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, the Flyers are one of the teams thinking about making a move for the 33-year-old goalie.

As expected, the Flyers denied the reports (via Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News)

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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.

 2009-10 W/L/OT GAA SV%
Roberto Luongo 40-22-4 2.57 .913
Ilya Bryzgalov 42-20-6 2.29 .920
       
2010-11 W/L/OT GAA SV%
Roberto Luongo 38-15-7 2.11 .928
Ilya Bryzgalov 36-20-10 2.48 .921
       
2011-12 W/L/OT GAA SV%
Roberto Luongo 31-14-8  2.41 .919
Ilya Bryzgalov 33-16-7 2.48 .909

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.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Bryzgalov

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.

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.

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