The trade talk has surrounded Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo over the last year, but the appearance of general manager Mike Gillis and assistant GM Laurence Gilman at Sunday's Washington Capitals game against the Pittsburgh Penguins will only help fuel the rumor hot stove.
According to Sean Gentille of AOL Sporting News, while the Capitals may be kicking the tires on a deal for the veteran netminder, the “other teams reported to be interested in Luongo are the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers.”
The trade market for Luongo is as vast as many thought it would be for a bona fide No. 1 goaltender, but his long-term contract and the patience of the Canucks in this process have only fueled the media blitz surrounding the team.
3. Philadelphia Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers have fallen flat to start the season, and goaltending has been a big reason why they have been so inconsistent. It may be time for a change.
Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun is reporting that the Flyers are in the market to make a big move before the trade deadline, so the possibility that Philadelphia could make a deal that brings in a big-name veteran like Luongo is feasible.
The Flyers would have to formulate a way to move the contract of high-priced goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and get under the salary cap, but as difficult as it would be to work out, Philadelphia has made major deals like this before.
2. Florida Panthers
The Vancouver Canucks are trying to find the best deal for the long-term future of the franchise, and Roberto Luongo is just trying to find the best fit for his style and attitude.
While there may be other teams interested, the best deal for Vancouver would be with the Florida Panthers.
The Canucks need help through the middle of their lineup, and CBC Hockey Night's Glenn Healy is reporting that the Panthers may be willing to deal center Stephen Weiss for the right price.
Luongo played in Florida before and the low-pressure situation would fit him perfectly. Add in all the young talent that the Panthers could package with Weiss, and this is a feasible deal that could get done.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Of all the teams that are reportedly interested in Luongo, the best trade partner on paper for all parties involved remains the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While the team’s pursuit of the veteran netminder has cooled lately, the team is still dealing with the transition from former general manager Brian Burke to Dave Nonis. Now that order in the franchise is being restored, Toronto can make its move.
The Maple Leafs have a few unrestricted free agents that may be too pricey to keep this offseason—Tyler Bozak most notably—and moving a few in a deal to acquire a No. 1 goalie like Luongo should be a no-brainer.
Toronto needs a bona fide No. 1 goaltender and Luongo will be a viable starter for at least another five years.