Roberto Luongo Asks To Be Traded: Did Toronto Make The List?

April 26th, 2012 7 Comments

Several sources are reporting that Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has asked to be traded. While it may be true that Luongo “wants” to be traded, the Vancouver Province is reporting that Luongo has, in fact, not given Canucks general manager Mike Gillis a list of teams that he would be willing to be traded to.

“We’ve met, but we’ve decided we’ll take our time and talk in the next few days over the phone,” Gillis said in a the Team 1040 interview today. “I think we all need to take a deep breath. The early exit from the playoffs, not meeting our expectations, can lead you to make some pretty poor decisions in a real hurry.”

Early reports had the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers making Luongo’s short list as teams he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause in order to join. While it is very plausible that Luongo would include all three of those teams as places he’d be willing to play, there has been no confirmation.

On the surface, a trade to Toronto makes a lot of sense on both sides. For Toronto, they would get a legitimate all-star quality goaltender, who, despite his playoff struggles, could fill the void that Toronto has between the pipes.

For Luongo, he would be reunited with Francois Allaire (who once coached Luongo) and   Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s assistant Dave Nonis who brought Luongo to Vancouver.

Luongo (33) currently has ten years left on his contract which will see him earn nearly $54 million.

As far as Luongo’s salary goes, he is set to carry a $6.7 million salary from 2012-13 through 2018, $3.4 million for the 2018-19 season, followed by three very reasonable seasons at $1.6 million in 2019-20, $1.0 million in 2020-21 and $1.0 million in 2021-22. Each of those seasons carry a $5,333,333 cap hit.

With that in mind, the final three seasons of Luongo’s contract could be bought out by a team leaving them on the hook for around $43 million over six seasons.

That’s a lot of coin for any player, but when you consider the lack of alternatives between the pipes facing the Maple Leafs the financial risk might be worth the gamble.

While you have to respect Mike Gillis’ comment that he doesn’t want to make a foolish move, one has to think that the confirmation that Luongo wants to be traded and the fact that Cory Schneider looks to be ready to assume the number one role that the possibility that Luongo will be in a different uniform next season is very real.

Let’s face it,  the goaltending market is not flush with number one goaltenders. That said, there are plenty of decent backup options available to the Canucks. One option may be to bring soon to be Toronto Maple Leafs cast-off Jonas Gustavsson into the fold, while veterans Tomas Vokoun, Johan Hedberg, Dwayne Roloson, Martin Biron and Brent Johnson would also make adequate backups.

So what would it take to land Luongo?

Initial reports suggest that the Canucks will be hard-pressed to land a player of significance due to Luongo’s hefty salary and cap hit.

That said, should Gillis manage to get a bidding war started I could see a second round draft pick and/or a mid-level prospect heading to Vancouver.

The good news is Burke has plenty of prospects to offer, and he has plenty of draft picks to dangle. The bad news is Burke and Gillis have a heated past, which may get in the way of a deal.

Would Burke be willing to kiss and make up with Gillis in order to land Luongo? You bet your arse he would! And, he’ll send Dave Nonis to Vancouver to kiss Gillis’ butt as well!

It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds for Luongo and the Maple Leafs. If I were a betting man I would lay down a $50 bet that Luongo will be traded at this years draft— new CBA agreement or no new CBA agreement. Whether he ends up in Toronto or not remains to be seen…

Until next time,

Peace!

7 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    This is another great article dude – thanks for putting in the time! Logical, analytical and full of good sense. IMO all of those are great qualities.

    One thing to point out though is where you said:

    “As far as his cap hit goes, Luongo is set to carry a $6.7 million cap hit from 2012-13 through 2018, $3.4 million for the 2018-19 season, followed by three very reasonable seasons at $1.6 million in 2019-20, $1.0 million in 2020-21 and $1.0 million in 2021-22.”

    I think what you meant is that, this is Lu’s actual salary in dollars and cents to be paid out to the player over the term, year over year.
    His cap hit because of the “cap circumvention” type deal, is actually a manageable 5.33 per year.

    Oh, and I agree, Lu goes out on the floor at the draft. Good chance Nash does too. This is going to be a fun off season dude. Tim Thomas will be in that class too…bank on it! The smaller markets on Lu’s list that cant carry the financial burden will be hot in Thomas’ tail. My bets are Florida/Tampa/Chicago/New Jersey/Edmonton.

    Dave

    Dave

  2. MarkRitter says:

    Hey Dave—

    Thanks for the heads up. I changed the article to reflect both salary and cap hit, so it should make sense now!

    The reason Luongo goes at the draft is that it will be the perfect time for a bidding war, and that is what Gillis needs in order to max-out his return on Luongo.

    If we are ranking the teams in order of the chances Luongo will land there I think my list would look like this (for now)…

    1. Tampa Bay
    2. Toronto
    3. Florida
    4. Chicago
    5. New Jersey *If Brodeur retires
    6. Edmonton

    If I am Luongo I go to Tampa as it is the most relaxed market, has Steve Yzerman running it (who believed in Luongo with his Olympic selection), has a good mix of veterans and youngsters, is a franchise on the upswing with solid ownership (finally) and enough cap room to continue to build. I don’t think Yzerman has the green light to go to the cap limit, but make no mistake about it, if he feels Luongo gets this team into the playoffs for the foreseeable future Yzerman will find the money..IMO…

    As far as Toronto goes, like many fans, I am completely on the fence. I like the stats, but I am not so sure he can play at that level for more than three seasons, and that worries me. I would rather see Bernier here—even if he still is a bit of an unknown.

    Chicago—I really feel Crawford is legit, so not really a fit, but ya never know!

    As for Edmonton— Gillis would never trade Luongo there!

    And as far as New Jersey goes, two words—————Marty Brodeur—————

    I’ll make you a deal, if Toronto lands Luongo I will come into the T-Dot and down a couple of pitchers with you so we can solve the rest of the Maple Leafs issues!

    We should do that anyways…summer is near…

    Peace mang!

  3. Dave says:

    For sure brother, patio season is going to be out in full force soon! Lets make sure we sink a few pitchers this year – its been too long. No excuses! Besides, I love sharing ideas and bantering back and forth about the game. Keep doing what you do brother – I love your work!

    Dave

  4. Hudson says:

    I agree on the top teams, it’s most likely between Toronto and Tampa. And I really like the call on New Jersey, Mark. You can be sure it’s to the opposite coast. Nothing west will be in play.

    Mark I think you have some good points about Tampa, and his family ties in Florida have been talked about.

    But I think if Toronto is really on his list, that indicates to me he has no trouble handling this kind of media environment. He certainly handled Vancouver (tougher, imo) with total class. That was a heck of an exit interview he gave. And he’s been class all along, other than a blip versus Boston last year. Luongo was booed to death in Vancouver, and never said boo back. Ever. I am not sure Tampa being an easier media market is that big a factor. He knows how to handle it. Toronto would be far kinder to him.

    I wonder, though, if Vancouver at all fancies sending Luongo to Canada’s almost undisputed #1 team fan-wise, and totally undisputed #1 media center – Leafs AND overall NHL coverage. Can they stomach Luongo in the HNIC spotlight every Saturday night?

    Forget what Luongo wants, and who might give the best deal, I think the Vancouver brass would most prefer to send him somewhere quiet. This is a very controversial issue. And Schneider, as good as he looks, is NO SURE THING either. He’s done everything (and we’re talking numbers only) in a backup role with ZERO pressure, and Lou taking all the heat. He has accomplished nothing.

    So this is a gamble for Vancouver. And their hand is forced. The politics of two goalies performing at #1 level isn’t working, as Marc Crawford said on TV before this reached boiling point. And the contracts are such that they virtually have to keep Schneider, and move Luongo. But it’s like cutting off a limb and hoping you can grow it back…

    So, with that kind of pressure, I posit Vancouver wants Luongo in exile. Just imagine if he became the saviour of the TML? That is what has me most concerned with the deal, not other factors which play into it like term, cap, trade details, etc. And as you say, the history between management is a real downside too.

    So to me, it almost doesn’t look possible from those perspectives. And it kind of bums me out. When was the last time we landed a star player in Toronto via trade? Of the marquee sort you would have to go back to Mats Sundin. But a high profile star veteran even. Would it be Belfour?

    We just need something great to happen for once. And I’d be willing to pay to have it be Luongo. He sure would be able to give confidence to our youth as we grow over the next few years. That actually supports your position about this team, Mark. It would be superb for this young group. Imagine our young squad being bailed out, rather than exposed. And Lou would mentor and relieve pressure on our young goalies too. He could be our Miracle Grow…

    But, sadly, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

  5. Mark Ritter says:

    Hey Hud—

    Agree with much of what you said. I am sure Vancouver would love to ship Luongo off to Columbus, but Luongo’s NTC will prevent that.

    As you said, IF Luongo does indeed include Toronto on his list then you have to figure he is up for the challenge, which speaks to his character and strength.

    He is a decent fit here in Toronto. If there were no cap the deal would be done in seconds, if Burke could come up with a good offer.

    Read today that Burke will NOT part with his first round draft choice this year for the likes of Lindback or Bernier.

    As we discussed here, neither Lindback or Bernier is a proven commodity (not yet anyways) but I still maintain that Bernier would be a great fit—a goalie that could grow with this team.

    Tune in draft day—pretty confident that is when this deal will get done!

    What’s your series calls? Here’s mine—

    Nashville in six
    Flyers in five
    Rangers in six
    St. Louis in six

    Peace!

  6. Hudson says:

    Heya Mark.

    All I am saying is that Tampa is the exile option. Sure they’re actually set to be strong again soon, and certainly a playoff team with a strong goalie. But media coverage of Tampa outside Stamkos? They probably have one beat writer, too. They aren’t front page material locally let alone nationally. It’s Florida. Vancouver is in silent competition with Toronto.

    I think the cap helps the situation. That is what makes Toronto possible, and you said it yourself. Or Dave did. It takes so many other teams completely out of the running, right? And it’s what also makes it easier for Toronto from the standpoint of having to give less for him. Vancouver are sellers here. And Toronto’s the big box store…

    And Burke has the excuse that this won’t be his cap circumvention deal. It wasn’t his contract. And you can damn well bet there will be a ton of internal pressure for Burke to drop his ‘values’, and better this team. Now. His job also rests on immediate success now. The knives are out.

    You know, this sounds totally crazy, but I think Burke could, would, and should give up his first rounder for 2013. Maybe he means it for those goalies, but I doubt it for proven Luongo. I expect anything Burke Says, just like Gillis, is intended to pump his position. Do you want to make it look easy to pry away a first rounder? No, you want to make that seem harder. More valuable to us. This is already a stage of negotiation.

    Let’s say next year we are incrementally better. And we come out with an 8th-12th round pick next year. Yay. We have a new prospect in the system to possibly help us out in most likely a marginal way in 3-5 years time. You certainly don’t bet on it being a gem.

    Versus a player to help us be much better for the next 3-5 years with no doubt. And a goalie no less! Three years is the time we need to have this young team ready, and not so young any more. Developed players, with developed goalies…

    I actually hope Burke won’t fear to part with the first rounder b/c of history and the Kessel trade. Because I don’t think a second rounder and decent current asset works, however desperate Vancouver is. And we have shit to deal with otherwise. What have we got that we don’t desperately also need? (aka, hope like in Gardiner).

    You can argue that with Burke utterly failing us in goal, four years of no post-season, onto a second coach, and Burke’s own term coming up…all spurs in his ass, my friends. Is he going to think that pick next year is valuable for this team? That almost doesn’t even matter. Because it’s down to his ass now, and his balls are on the block.

    I still think the chances are slim we get him. But after all this thought I have come out hoping we do. I just don’t see it happening. But I would bet my left nut Burke will try his ass off…

    ~~~~~

    Are you honestly trying to call a series this year? Man, it’s been great, hasn’t it? =) Sooooo awesome to see Boston booted. And Thomas to be kicked in the ass by Washington of all things. Perfect.

    I think with the upsets and great teams eliminated, the road has been paved for The Flyers and Rangers to meet in the 3rd round, and for St. Louis for the final. Then, it’s a toss in the air. St. Louis is a great, well-coached team. But man, they’d come up against stiff competition.

    PHI goaltending though, wow. You’d have to go with the Rangers, unless Bryzgalov solves the problems of his own universe.

    Peace to you too bro!

  7. Hudson says:

    Btw, talk about wasting money on a goaltender…

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