Luongo's "Last Day" Reax

Thomas Drance
April 25 2012 10:23AM

 Luongo's comments on Tuesday morning to the Vancouver press concerning his willingness to waive his no-trade clause if he's asked to do so by Mike Gillis over the summer, generated buzz and speculation across the hockey world. Let's round up some of the talking points after the jump.

Let's start with Jason Botchford's must read take on Luongo preparing to face the future with class and dignity:

Luongo wasn’t sombre. But he was resigned, ready to put the team first and prepared to cede one of the most difficult jobs in hockey to his ally, friend and former understudy Cory Schneider.

His words could not have been easy. Much like sitting on the bench for the last three games of the playoffs. Luongo said he would waive his no-trade, if it was what GM Mike Gillis felt was best.

This, you have to understand, was his team he was talking about leaving. He was the captain of the Cancuks, the goalie and a leader. The Canucks also promise to be his best shot at the one trophy which has eluded him, the Stanley Cup. And despite all the scrutiny and criticism, he loves playing here. He said that again Tuesday.

But he also said he understands if management has decided to move forward with Schneider as its starter. Heck, if he was general manager he might feel exactly the same way.

Whatever happens over the summer, if Luongo has played his final game in Canucks blue - I'll miss him greatly and will absolutely continue to root for him to hoist a Cup, and at long last silence his critics.

David Ebner of the Globe and Mail meanwhile, summed up Gillis' predicament between the pipes:

Gillis plans changes – but not big ones. His biggest challenge is goaltending. Long-time starter Roberto Luongo is ready to waive his no-trade clause, after talking to Gillis on Tuesday morning. Cory Schneider, a restricted free agent, said he wants to be a starter, somewhere, playing 60 to 70 games.

While Gillis probably would like to keep Luongo and the ascendant Schneider, that seems doubtful, with Luongo likely the one to depart.

Marc Spector read between the lines, and theorizes that the return for Luongo might be better than most are anticipating:

On days like this one, when everyone's words are being recorded for accuracy, it is often more about what the participants didn't say, rather than what they did. 

So when Roberto Luongo said, "I don't want to put myself before the team. I don't want to be that selfish guy," and then quickly admits he is willing to waive his no trade clause if asked, what he's really saying is this:

"Look, I'm a No. 1 goalie -- a 65-start guy. If that's going to happen here in Vancouver, great. If it has to be somewhere else, so be it. Contact my agent for a list of teams we will accept a trade to. You'll have it in the morning."...

The Luongo situation was made clear for everyone on Tuesday, as the media got its final whacks at the Canucks before they disperse into the off-season. Nobody spelled it out because nobody had to, but here is what will happen:

Gillis will ask for and receive from Luongo's agent Gilles Lupien, a list of teams to which Luongo would accept a trade. Gillis will look at the list of, say, five teams, immediately dismiss two of them as not having the commensurate return on their roster, and go to work on the other three.

He'll be in a hurry, both in an attempt not to avoid a messy divorce, and to have whatever cap room the deal might free up available on July 1. At that point, with Cory Schneider the clear cut No. 1 -- and we're betting a better return for Luongo than you might think -- it's time to figure out what kind of hockey team he should be building here.

James Mirtle, on the other, is signficantly more bearish about Luongo's trade value:

Consider that Luongo has a no-trade clause, which he can use to land in a particular destination or two if he chooses. Dumping him in a market that has little chance for immediate success may not be an option.

For another, that contract mitigates his value considerably, as the remaining 10 years at a $5.33-million cap hit will come with some risk given the new collective bargaining agreement is on its way this fall.

Many NHL goaltenders play well into their mid-30s, but Luongo will still have four years left on the deal as he approaches 40 and there's no guarantee he can maintain his play close to that long. (Save percentage tends to dip on average by about age 38.)

There are, in other words, plenty of limitations here on what Canucks GM Mike Gillis is going to be able to bring back in a deal, and you don't even have to look much past some of the other recent goaltender trades for examples of how far their value has fallen.

Montreal moved Jaroslav Halak without getting a great deal in return and the likes of Mike Smith and Brian Elliott, two of the better goalies this season, signed on cheap free agent deals last summer.

There is also the possibility Thomas, Miikka Kiprusoff and others are also available, which crowds the market.

Concerns about Luongo's trade market value aside, for a team with issues in net, Luongo presents an attractive possible sollution. TSN's Scott Cullen crunched the numbers to demonstrate the impact Luongo might have had on a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs this season:

Without getting into the contract and so on (it is a factor, of course), here's why the Toronto Maple Leafs would consider Roberto Luongo: Over the last three seasons, Luongo's save percentage is .920.

By inserting that into Toronto's lineup in 2011-2012 for 60 games, with the Leafs allowing an average of 30.8 shots against (same as Vancouver, incidentally), then Toronto, with no change in performance (ie. 900 SV%) from James Reimer in the remaining games, would allow 2.55 goals against per game, down from 3.16 per game in 2011-2012.

That difference of .61 goals per game, over 82 games, amounts to a 50-goal difference. Adding 50 goals onto Toronto's 2011-2012 goal differential would have the Leafs at a plus-17, which would be better than six of this year's playoff teams.

Finally, a Montreal based "source" claimed to have already been given a list of five times Luongo would be willing to be traded to. That (probably) false report was quickly debunked by TSN's James Duthie.

We're in for an offseason rife with speculation, endless debates about Luongo's value and the exact ins and outs of his life-time deal. Luongo the player is exceedingly valuable. While there's no doubt his contract "mitigates" that value to some extent, there's clealry several observers who expect the Canucks to recoup assets in any deal moving their starter. We've looked at the movability of Luongo's deal in the past, and most of what we wrote then still applies. We also remain convinced, based on the structure of Cory Schneider's impending restricted free-agency, that if the Canucks are to move Luongo - that really needs to happen at the draft table.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 NuckfiSh
April 25 2012, 10:56AM
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@thomasdrance

I think he has way more trade value then people are assuming... Think for a minute that your a GM who's window is closing. You need to get into the playoffs asap and show your owners some playoff revenue. You have maybe a 2-3 year window to get into the playoffs, or you've lost your job, and the biggest hole on your team is goaltending... well then Roberto Luongo looks like a freaking godsend.

Why would a GM on the hot seat who needs to win NOW, care at all about a contract that expires 10 years after he's long gone & fired. He doesn't. He's gonna roll the dice & gamble that said player will get him into the playoffs and his paycheck will be secure. That's how Jeff Carter got traded twice in one year, that's how Mike Richards got traded, that's why Luongo will fetch a fair trade... hell that's how these players get those contracts in the first place.

Also of note - If Dale Tallon can turn Keith Ballard into Michael Grabner & a 1st round pick, I think Luongo is worth more then a used bag of hockey pucks.

Cheers

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#2 EcDevoff
April 25 2012, 11:15AM
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Can someone, once and for all, explain the out clauses in the contract? I heard that there is an team option in 4 years and a player option in 6. Is this true? If it is, why are none of the reporters mentioning it?

Little help please.

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#3 Buzz Lightbeer
April 25 2012, 11:31AM
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Extremely disappointing that Lou wants out because of mgmt, media and fans. Shame on all of you. The bigger question is who else needs to go in order for the Nucks to make room and ice time for the package coming back? Who else needs to go in order to win a Cup? How soon before you turn on Cory, Kesler and the twins? I think I'll start a pool.

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#4 Mantastic
April 25 2012, 11:36AM
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@Nuckfish

Richards and Carter are both much younger than Luongo and they don't have as much garbage years on their contract to lower the cap hit. so they were able to be moved for good value.

Luo is getting paid 6+mill for the next 6 years and when a GM is going to spend that kind of cash, owners get involved. he'll be 39 and still be making over 6+ mill!! that's asinine!

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#5 NuckfiSh
April 25 2012, 12:04PM
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@Mantastic

You're right that Richards & Carter are younger & on better contracts, however if Dean Lombardi wasn't facing unemployment if the team missed the playofs again, do you really think he trades Wayne Simmonds & Braden Schenn to Philly?

The waiting was over in LA. They ran out of time & patience to develop their stud young players, and needed an immediate return. That mindset allowed Lombardi to swallow the large contracts, and it's obviously a risk that paid off because the Kings are in the 2nd round, his owners are geting paid, and his job is secure.

I can think of at least one gm - far east of Vancouver - who may be next years Lombardi if he can get a goaltender...

***also, I doubt Scott Howson trades Voracek & Couturier to Philly for Carter if he wasn't under so much pressure to get into the playoffs - except in his case it was a bust.

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#6 Mantastic
April 25 2012, 12:24PM
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@Nuckfish

uh... do you even know how good mike richards is? he is definitely worth schenn and simmonds.

howson traded the 8th round pick which happened to be couturier. no one would have guessed he would have dropped so far down and voracek was a bust in CBJ anyways.

offense is much more higly prized in the NHL than goaltending. look at previous goalie trades across the league, you usually never see a goalie go for what can bring you a top 3 forward. especially one with such a terrible contract

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#7 NuckfiSh
April 25 2012, 01:47PM
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@Mantastic

In an effort to stay on point I won't get into the pros & cons of Richards Schenn Voracek & Simmonds...

More to the point is that last summer Philly moved two "untradeable" contracts for what amounts to Wayne Simmonds, Braden Schenn, Jakub Voracek and the 8th overall pick. Thats a pretty sweet return on 2 contracts that were thought to be unmoveable.

Now I'm not saying that the Canucks can expect that same sort of return for Lou, but I think he's worth more then the 'salary dump' most pundits are predicting.

Detractors aside, the man earned his big contract. And he only fell 1 win short of being immortalized in Vancouver forever. He's a pretty darn good goalie lol

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#8 Mantastic
April 25 2012, 02:43PM
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@Nuckfish

you're missing the key point that no one thought the richards and carter contracts were unmoveable.

there are many other goalies who have lost in G7 of the SCF. none command those $$$, even ones who have won them

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#9 Tovi badbreath Black
April 25 2012, 09:02PM
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Even,,,though Cory is ,,going to be a great goalie,,,why not trade him,,and get the most you can ,,now while the market is hot for him,,he still is not proven,,Loo will always be a good goalie one of the top 5,,,,,,trade when the value is high,,even though Cory is good,,get a good ,,goal producing forward or a top notch defenceman,,who can score,,get rid of some of the smurfs and baggage,,and a tad more grit that also can score,, Mike has done a great job,,under who knows what circumstances,,,keep ,,:Loo,,,,he will come back even better,,but get something good for Cory!!

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#10 Brutality of Truth
May 07 2012, 07:02PM
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Luongo sucks, he's won nothing ever and dont say gold medal cause he went swimming again for the tying goal and was saved by Sid the kid. He played 4 lousy lopsided games against Boston in the finals.The list of his failures as a goalie goes on and on

Next, the Sedins.They dont kill penalties, cant fight, cant stick up for themselves, and have the uncanny power of invisibility in the playoffs.The cant lead, they cant motivate and they fall everytime they get a tap.

Cory, the only decent thing about the team and should have played a game or two in the finals when sucky lu was being raped by Boston

Kesler- aside from a great series against the Predators, he's aquired the contagious power of invisibility from the Sedins.He's probbably thinking of a career posing for playgirl.

Av- this guy is as passionate as a librarian. Kept putting luongo even after Boston exposed him for what he is, an overrated basket case and didnt even consider starting Cory in an attempt to salvage what appeared to be a losing cause with Luongo.

Mayson useless Raymond- well, what can be said for something so useless and who still gets ice time, thanks to AV

Edler- needs to understand that he plays for the Canucks, not the other team, a master of kicking or deflecting goals into his own net, flipping passes into crowd for delay of game penalties, and uncanny ability of turn overs in his own zone which results in goals.

Salo, happy man cause he gets paid for getting injured. He gets hurt more than he plays.

Bottom line, Canuck fans will say their team is good enough, when it cleary is not. Canuck management will say the same thing, do nothing or make useless drafts, trades and choke in playoffs and repeat recipe for next year, again and again. They talk the talk but never do anything. the Management spin lies about winning and the fans are the enablers, the mouth piece for the organaization after the choking starts. Anyone who thinks this is wrong should go check history, the Canucks havent won nothing in 40 years.They hoist jerseys of people who havent won anything and call it a day. The fans are content with futility and embrace useless things like the Presidents Trophy and they are happy with "not good enough" players like, linden, mclean, lumme, sedins, luongo, kesler, edler, the list goes on. The saying goes, "nothing changes if nothing changes." Get ready cause 40 more years of losing is waiting for all dilusional Canucks fans.

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#11 Brutality of Truth
May 07 2012, 07:16PM
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Anyone who couldnt follow what i said, here's what is in store for next year.

-Acquire more fringe players and keep the content and useless core -Have a good regular season, -Come the playoffs and then start choking or in other words, play like the over rated team that they are, surprising bnobody but the fans. -Fans make excuses for the team, team trades away good gritty players and keep uselss core -Repeat for next year and year after year.

that folks, is a simple way to understanding the real Cancuks.

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