NHL Trades: Power Ranking the Suitors for Roberto Luongo
As Luongo is no longer the man in Vancouver, the Canucks were looking for a trade partner who would take him off their hands and off their payroll.
Luongo is scheduled to make $6.7 million (prorated) this season and that same amount for the following five years. He also has an additional four years under contract after that (source: CapGeek.com).
The Canucks want to go with Cory Schneider in net, so the shopping of Luongo resumes, now that the lockout is (all but) history.
Let's power rank the realistic potential trade partners.
5. Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks fans are very familiar with Roberto Luongo.
The Canucks met the Hawks in three straight playoffs from 2009 through 2011, and Luongo played a pivotal role.
Luongo was on the losing end of two of those playoff series and appeared to have a problem solving Hawks shooters. However, the Hawks don't have the ideal goaltending situation.
Corey Crawford is a decent goaltender, but there is every reason to believe he is not a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL. The presence of Luongo could be an upgrade for the Hawks.
However, it's still a long shot for the indecisive Chicago general manager Stan Bowman to complete the deal.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
One of the issues with playing in Vancouver is pressure.
There's no getting around it. If you play for the Canucks, you are playing for one of the NHL's best teams and a perennial Stanley Cup contender. The pressure to produce is significant, and that's not about to change any time soon.
Luongo has not always responded well to that pressure. Past playoff performances vs. Chicago and Boston are indicative of how he has responded to pressure.
If he wants to go to a city without pressure, Columbus would be the spot for him.
The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs once in their history. He would just be a man doing a job in Columbus, and the pressure would be insignificant in that college football mecca.
3. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have Ilya Bryzgalov in goal, and while he had an up-and-down season in 2011-12, there is still every reason to think he can do the job.
However, the Flyers surfaced as a possible trade partner with the Canucks when Canadian reporter Enrico Ciccone tweeted that sources told him the Flyers were interested in the enigmatic goalie.
While other reporters also confirmed the interest, Philly.com's Frank Servalli spoke with Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, who laughed at the idea.
2. Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers may be the preferred destination for Roberto Luongo.
Luongo played with the Panthers from 2000 through 2006. His wife is from Florida, and the Panthers are in need of an upgrade in their goaltending.
Luongo would be an upgrade for the Panthers, and playing in the sunbelt would be a less pressure-packed destination for the goalie.
Luongo is willing to be traded to the Panthers and has been since June, according to the FourthPeriod.com.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been on the top of the Roberto Luongo list since rumors first surfaced in 2012 that the goalie would be traded.
The reasons are obvious. The Maple Leafs have not made the playoffs even once during the salary-cap era, and the goaltending has largely been abominable.
Luongo has his issues, but he has a lifetime 2.52 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and 60 shutouts.
When the Leafs fired Brian Burke on January 9 (source: NHL.com), Sportsnet.ca's panel of hockey analysts (above) surmised that one of the key reasons for Burke's dismissal was his lack of enthusiasm for acquiring Luongo, while the rest of the Toronto brass wanted him.
The Leafs could make a big push for Luongo as soon as trade restrictions are lifted.