On a day when teams throughout the NHL have been in the headlines for swapping players at a torrid pace, the Vancouver Canucks are making waves for the move they decided against making.
Roberto Luongo has not been traded. He remains a Canuck. #tradecentre— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 3, 2013
Luongo, who was once seen as a franchise goalkeeper by the Canucks, has fallen out of favor over the past couple of seasons.
The 33-year-old (who will be 34 on April 4) was benched for the final three games of Vancouver’s first-round matchup against the Kings last season in the playoffs and has struggled to supplant Cory Schneider as the favored man in net following the lockout.
Schneider and Luongo have essentially split the goaltending duties this season and have worked together as a top-tier duo.
Vancouver ranks ninth in the NHL in goals allowed at 2.4 per game, and much of that can be attributed to its ability to keep its goalies fresh.
Nevertheless, Schneider has been better for each of the past two seasons overall and is seen as the preferred option by the franchise—especially with Luongo's contract looming over like an albatross. Luongo is still early in his 12-year, $64 million contract that runs through the 2019-20 season, which places him as a rich man in an increasingly frugal sport.
Luongo even acknowledged his contract is a problem and indicated he would "scrap it" if he could, per Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports:
Luongo: "My contract sucks. That's what the problem is."— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) April 3, 2013
Luongo: "I'd scrap it if I could right now." He's talking about his massive contract. Honest, and honestly amazing.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) April 3, 2013
With Vancouver desperately needing help scoring-wise and Luongo's long-term deal eating up Vancouver's cap, many viewed him being dealt as a foregone conclusion.
But the team's acquisition of Derek Roy freed up some of the scoring burden on the Canucks, and apparently they were unable to find an amenable trade prior to the deadline.
Nevertheless, this seems like a trade that has only been put on hold—not scrapped altogether. Luongo remains a part of the Canucks' present, but his future with the club after this season remains very much up in the air.