Where Will Roberto Luongo be Traded – Leafs, Blackhawks, Panthers, Canucks
Cory Schneider signed a three-year, $12 million deal paving the way for the Vancouver Canucks to trade Roberto Luongo, but where? Evaluating the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, and Florida Panthers as options.
Cory Schneider inked the contract we all knew was coming and Roberto Luongo appears to be on his way out of Vancouver. There appear to be several suitors, but it appears the asking price is a bit too high for the overpaid future-backup of the Canucks. Rumors abound about possible destinations for Roberto Luongo, particularly now that Schneider is locked up for the near future. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, and Florida Panthers appear to be solid options. Still, Luongo is signed through 2023 with a 5.33 million dollar cap hit, which limits the value of the aging goaltender with a checkered playoff history.
Brian Burke’s Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be a match made in hockey heaven. Burke has built a winning team in Toronto with the exception of a minor piece to the playoff puzzle – his Leafs have no goalie. A carousel of goaltending prospects failed the impressive Toronto offense in 2012 before collapsing out of the playoff picture. With the addition of James Van Reimsdyk, the Toronto offense will only get better. Unfortunately, without a decent option in net the Leafs could be on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture again. Roberto Luongo would then be the ideal netminder for the Maple Leafs, because Luongo can’t implode in the playoffs unless he makes the playoffs, which would already be a success for the Leafs. They have the prospects and picks to make a move for Luongo, but the asking price is reportedly still too high. I trust Brian Burke to get a deal done and expect Luongo to make his way to Toronto, but if the asking price stays this high Toronto is not the right environment for Luongo. If he cracked in Vancouver, Toronto may still be too much pressure.
The Florida Panthers don’t have much pressure from their fans at all and frequently struggle to hit the salary cap floor. In this way, Luongo could be comfortable and the Cats could spend some money towards their annual offseason purchases. The Panthers made the playoffs and are building a competitive team in a non-traditional hockey market. The few fans of the Panthers from earlier in Luongo’s career remember him fondly. The Panthers may want to avoid Luongo, though, because he’s no longer much of an upgrade. Jose Theodore had an impressive season and had a comparable save percentage this season for the Panthers. Luongo is getting old and the Panthers already have promising goaltending prospects. There’s no need to abandon the young, talented roster that won the Southeast Division this year. The Panthers probably shouldn’t give up much to land Luongo and GM Mike Gillis will likely continue to slowly stir the pot until the right offer comes along.
The Chicago Blackhawks entered the rumor mill with a Chelsea Dagger tweet and a dream, as well as 8+ million dollars to bring in a veteran goalie. Corey Crawford showed potential and was the reason the Blackhawks were able to dump the goalie they won the Stanley Cup with, but he struggled a bit during the Blackhawks’ mediocre season in 2011-12. Luongo fits the budget and offers some level of competition and regular-season stability for Chicago. Why not?
The Oilers would be an interesting option given their talented young roster, the Blue Jackets desperately need a goalie, and there are several other teams where Luongo could go. Still, the Maple Leafs likely need Luongo the most and want him enough to make a play before the Panthers and Blackhawks would be desperate enough to meet Gillis’ s0-far silly demands. Gillis could always hold onto Luongo as a backup until someone meets his price as well.
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