The trade rumors have been swirling around Roberto Luongo for months now. The hockey press has speculated possible destinations for Bobby Lu, but the All-Star goaltender has made it no secret how he wants to these talks to end: with him back in Sunrise to play again for the Florida Panthers. But because star athletes don’t always have things roll their way when talks between teams get going, it doesn’t look like a return to Florida is in the cards for Luongo right now. The Panthers just don’t have a need at the position right now, and the future is also set with Jacob Markstrom in the wings. Also when you factor in the huge albatross contract of Luongo, a trade to the small-market franchise seems even more unlikely.
But as implicit as Luongo has been about his first choice, he was been a little more than vague about secondary options. Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks have demonstrated need in the net, so a trade for a high-quality goaltender makes sense. And as far as we know (if we choose to ignore some unreliable twitter sources), Luongo hasn’t outright declared he would not accept a trade to either of those two cities.
But Luongo realizes that even though he wants to leave Vancouver since he will no longer have the starting gig, he doesn’t want to totally tie Canucks GM Mike Gillis’ hands. His quote to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel yesterday proves it:
[The Panthers] makes sense for myself, for my career and my family. This is a preferred location for obvious reasons, but I’m not shutting the door on other possibilities.
Even though the Panthers are choice number one, Luongo realizes that demanding a trade to that spot only will almost guarantee he won’t get traded. Dale Tallon is not willing to part with anybody special, and Mike Gillis is demanding some top notch prospects in return. The two are in a stalemate, and this is only assuming that Tallon still wants anything to do with Luongo.
The term he uses, “other possibilities”, mostly just appears to be a sort of empty phrase. It stands to reason that if Luongo really had any interest in going to a place like Toronto or Chicago, a deal would have been made by now. The Hawks and Leafs are willing to give up much more for a goalie than the Panthers would, and Gillis could certainly strike a better deal with those teams.
It’s becoming more and more obvious to everyone in the hockey world that there are only two possible outcomes to this Luongo trade fiasco. It will either end with the Panthers finally deciding to give a little and trade for Luongo (which is unlikely), or Vancouver will just have to stick with both Schneider and Luongo between the pipes for another year.
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