With the start of the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL regular season, the trade rumors surrounding some of the biggest stars in the sport are already flying.
One of the biggest names rumored to be traded is Vancouver Canucks star goaltender Roberto Luongo.
The chatter about where the veteran could end up has picked up drastically now that the season has started, and NHL fans should expect the rumors involving Luongo to really heat up moving forward.
All contract numbers via CapGeek.com.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 9:30 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
The Vancouver Canucks have been open about dealing veteran netminder Roberto Luongo since the offseason, but general manager Mike Gillis is in no rush to get a deal done.
Vancouver's GM is more worried about the long-term stability of his team.
When asked about a possible deal in the works for Luongo, Gillis updated Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun on the situation:
We have a potential deal in place with one team that has to do something with another player that they have — and it’s not who anybody thinks it is — and so we have to wait. (But) we’ve been offered packages that don’t fit what our plan is, what we need.
As this unpredictable, lockout-shortened continues, the desperation for help in net will force a team to overpay for Luongo and the Canucks will walk away as the winner of this situation.
---End of update---
The Philadelphia Flyers have a lot of money tied up in current starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov ($5,666,667 per season through 2020), but there is just as much money tied up with Luongo’s contract ($5,333,333 per season through 2022).
According to James Duthie of TSN, despite the feeling from many that this is a lateral move that would have to involve a third team and plenty of number crunching, the Flyers are interested in the services of Luongo:
Despite some denials, the tweet earlier from @enricociccone is accurate.The Flyers are interested in Roberto Luongo.— james duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) January 10, 2013
A deal this huge would need the perfect circumstances to be achieved, but the desire to get out from underneath the long-term, front-loaded contracts that were signed before the lockout could be the key to making this move happen.
Toronto Maple Leafs
While it is unlikely the Flyers will find a partner to acquire Bryzgalov and his contract, Philadelphia could be the third party that finally sets the gears in motion on a trade that sends Luongo to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
According to Jimmy Murphy of ESPN Boston, a three-team trade was already in place before Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was fired:
Interesting Flyers in Luongo rumors now. Reliable source told me prior to Burke firing they would be 3rd team in a 3-way trade for Lou to TO— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) January 10, 2013
Toronto and Vancouver have been close on a deal for Luongo, but were unable to hammer out the details and finalize a trade. With a third party like Philadelphia looking to add more talent to the mix, a move is now feasible.
Despite the Drama, Luongo has Remained a Class Act
After years of dealing with the drama of being the No. 1 goaltender in a hockey-crazy town like Vancouver, Luongo realizes that the chaos is all coming to an end sooner rather than later, and he is staying positive and upbeat.
Despite the trade rumors that surround him, Luongo told Jason Botchford of The Vancouver Province about his stance on being dealt, and how he will handle being in camp despite being openly shopped to other teams:
I told him (Gillis) I was ready to go as long as it took, whether that’s a couple days, next week, two weeks, or at the end of the season, it’s totally fine with me. I’m open to a lot of possibilities. I think me and Mike right now are on the same page about certain things and until there’s an answer for me I’ll just wait patiently…
…I’m just going to show up, have fun, enjoy the game, and you know whatever happens, happens. I’m not going to stress myself about a trade or how many games I’m going to play. I’m just going to enjoy it. Last time I did that (in the 2010 Winter Games) I think things worked out pretty well for me.
The veteran showed that his on-ice play is questionable at times, but his off-ice demeanor and class through this entire trade process will prove to prospective teams that he is ready to be a positive contributor to a quality team.
All parties are on board with this move, and the class shown all around has been admirable.