Strombabble: Punch Bjuggy, No Punch Back

Thomas Drance
July 30 2012 11:25AM

As July heaves itself over the finish line this week, ushering in the saddest month of childhood, Roberto Luongo remains property of the Vancouver Canucks.

Reportedly, the Canucks rejected an offer from Chicago that included Dave Bolland a few weeks ago; and more recently, indications were that talks with the Florida Panthers - Luongo's preferred destination - have jittered to a stalemateAccording to Kevin Allen of USA Today, highly touted American sniper Nick Bjugstad is the sticking point, and the major factor holding up any possible transaction.

Read on past the jump.

In Allen's latest he writes about, "10 Pressing Issues" that remain unresolved at this late juncture of the NHL offseason. On Luongo's trade status, Allen has this to say:

The Florida Panthers are the best fit for the Vancouver Canucks goalie, but GM Dale Tallon won't give up prized prospect Nick Bjugstad to land him. The Panthers are as excited about his potential as they are about Jonathan Huberdeau. Bjugstad is playing at the University of Minnesota and seems ready to play in the NHL. Luongo was popular when he played in Florida before, plus he could be the lift the team needs to offset big moves by the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. Canucks GM Mike Gillis is acting as if he is willing to go into the season with Luongo on his roster. But that would clearly be an uncomfortable situation with Cory Schneider seemingly set to be No. 1. Plus, no GM wants a $5.333 million cap hit as his backup goalie. [USA TODAY]

It was reported by the Fourth Period earlier this summer that the Canucks were "demanding" Bjugstad's inclusion in any Luongo package, so Allen's report isn't exactly "new" information. If his information is accurate, however, what it does suggest is that the Canucks are standing firm with their asking price and Panthers continue to bristle. The report is interesting, but it does nothing to alter the current holding pattern between the two teams.

Also, while Bjugstad may be NHL ready, and certainly had one hell of a season in Minnesota last year, he's going to play NCAA hockey next season regardless of which NHL club owns his rights.

So hunker down for the long-haul, Canucks fans. Even the man who will have "the final say" on whether a trade goes down, Mr. Roberto Luongo himself, seems to believe that any resolution on this front remains a distant prospect:

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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 Jamiexx
July 30 2012, 01:52PM
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No way they get Bjugstad.. Terrible pun btw "bjuggy" really? They are most likely to settle on Drew Shore or "reaquire" Howden. Probably get a dump of Kopecky or Upshall(NTC) The roster players they could get Matthias/Smithson/Santorelli;,could be solid in shutdown/scoring roles. Non starters for FLA: Versteeg, Weiss, Gudbranson, Goc, Bergenheim, Huberdeau, Bjugstad, Petrovic and Kulikov. Like most have said they really aren't under any pressure to get Luongo, Burkey has to be way more desperate and I bet MG is willing to wait until the deadline.

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#2 JDM
July 30 2012, 02:56PM
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I agree Burke is probably more desperate in some sense (although the Leafs could finish 30th and still print their own money). However, given that a) the Hurricanes are clearly much better than a year ago, b) so are the Lightning, and c) the Capitals can't possibly be that bad 2 years running, I would think Tallon would want to not bank on Jose Theodore playing well enough to fluke his team into contending for the division again. It's just not as good, on paper, as its competition. Luongo makes a huge difference.

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#3 Scott McKenzie
July 30 2012, 03:09PM
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I like what Gillis is doing. Wait as long as you want until you can get the maximum value out of a team. Small probability it backfires and he actually gets less, IMO.

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#4 Mantastic
July 30 2012, 03:35PM
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@JDM

how would Luongo make a huge difference compared to Theodore? their stats last year are pretty much the same and Theodore played on a much worse team.

@Scott

and the longer Gillis waits the worse the return is as the Canucks can't possibily start the season with a 5.66m cap hit backup. and everybody knows this. it comes down to who blinks first and gives in to the other's demand

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#5 OhKenny
July 30 2012, 04:16PM
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@ Mantastic

Define "Can't"...?

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#6 KleptoKlown
July 30 2012, 06:49PM
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I doubt the Canucks want to start the season with Luongo and Schneider, but if other teams are offering bad contracts and failed prospects in return, KEEP HIM.

Better to see him waived with no return than to take on a contract like Komisarek.

It's doubtful the Leafs and Panthers will both have amazing starts. I'll bet at least one of them (Or some other team) has a horrible start.

The absolute worst thing the Canucks can do is take on contracts that don't fit. The one and only reason Luongo is being traded is because his contract doesn't fit anymore. If a team is going to have an unwelcomed contract on the books, doesn't it make more sense for that to be a goaltender who is well liked and respected in the dressing room?

The other option would be what the Hawks did with Huet a few years ago. Loan Luo to a different team, pay his contract, but it doesn't count against the cap.

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#8 Jugs
July 31 2012, 12:16AM
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Imagine a line of:

6'3 - 6'6 - 6'3

Kassian - Bjugstad - Jensen

Deadly size.

I don't know where this USA writer is getting this info, it seems sketchy. If Jugs is holding up the deal then Florida has problems. He's not likely to leave college early, so he's 2 yrs out from their line up. They need help now if they want to maintain season ticket/seat ticket sales. Their division got better while they got worse. Loss of Garrison was huge, he's a minute muncher who plays against tough competition. They also lost a top 6er in Samuelsson.

I'm glad Gillis is patient, he knows what he has - don't give it up for peanuts. I'd prefer both goalies stay on the roster next season. The west is a war zone, a goalie tandem is a huge advantage.

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#9 Stevey
July 31 2012, 06:29AM
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@Jugs

Please do your homework first. Bjustadt graduates this year. He could play like kreider in April. Theodore and luongo's numbers are a distinction without a difference. Panthers will be fine with hubredeau added in lieu of Samuelson,, mueller and kuba, and a more experienced kulikov, Ellerby and gudbranson. Exciting times in a strong southeast.

Would love to see Roberto and Gina reunited, but no way for any of our "super kids".

Best of luck.

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#10 Stevey
July 31 2012, 06:29AM
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@Jugs

Please do your homework first. Bjustadt graduates this year. He could play like kreider in April. Theodore and luongo's numbers are a distinction without a difference. Panthers will be fine with hubredeau added in lieu of Samuelson,, mueller and kuba, and a more experienced kulikov, Ellerby and gudbranson. Exciting times in a strong southeast.

Would love to see Roberto and Gina reunited, but no way for any of our "super kids".

Best of luck.

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#11 Mantastic
July 31 2012, 09:58AM
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@KleptoKlown

Luo doesn't want to play for some random team. the reason why he wants back in Florida is family reasons, so why would he agree to get loaned to Europe like Huet?

@Thomas Drance

goaltending wasn't florida's problem last year and it's not like they got weaker this off-season. if i was GM for any team, i would be looking to shore up weaknesses on my team and not fortify a position that was one of their strenghts.

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#12 KleptoKlown
July 31 2012, 12:51PM
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@Mantastic

@Mantastic I wasn't trying to suggest that loaning Lu is the most likeliest scenario, but if he is faced with playing 20-25 games in Vancouver vs playing full time elsewhere, I am sure he would consider all of his options. Additionally, Lu may have a NTC, but he doesn't have a NMC...I also hear there is some good poker to be played in Spain.

Jose Theodore has had 2, maybe 3 good seasons since his Veznia and Hart winning season. 1 of those years was last year. Goaltending was not a problem for Flordia last year, but counting on Theodore to have back to back stellar seasons?

PS: Losing Garrison and replacing him with Kuba does make the Panthers weaker...

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#13 Mantastic
July 31 2012, 02:36PM
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Stellar? more like slightly above average, which was Luongo last year.

he's getting paid regardless, so why would he play FURTHER away from his family? when he wants to be closer to them?

i'm not argueing about the team being weaker but their goaltending has NOT become weaker this offseason. spending an additional 6+m in hard cash for a possibility of having slightly better goaltending is a bad investment.

sending him to europe or the AHL is the same if not worse then trading him for nothing. that would be absolutely terrible asset management.

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#14 KleptoKlown
July 31 2012, 03:15PM
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@Mantastic

My point was the Panthers goal tending *may* be weaker than last year. Theodore has been consistently inconsistent his entire professional career.

Should the Panthers give up any top prospect based on "what ifs?" Absolutely not.

The Panthers have better prospects than the Leafs, so, combined with the fact Lu wants to play in Florida, it's understandable why Mike Gillis is targeting the Panthers and playing the waiting game.

It's us fans and the media that's being impatient and wanting anything done now, than the right thing later on.

There are worse things that could happen in the Bobby Lu saga than having him back at the start of the season.

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#15 Jugs
July 31 2012, 04:47PM
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@Stevey

Um, lol. 2 things: research university, and the correct spelling of his name.

Jugs is going into his 3rd yr, you graduate after your 4th year. Like I said, he has 2 more yrs at Uni (if he wants to graduate).

It's Bjugstad, not 'Bjustadt'.

Huberdeau in lieu of Sammy? Lol. You do realize Sammy played the toughest mins of an forward on the team right? Unless Huberdeau is Landeskog_v2, he ain't replacing Sammy.

Kuba is a bottom pairing d-man, in no way can he replace Garrison. Like Samuelsson, Garrison played the toughest min on defense. He played against top players every night and drove play. Gudbran played the weakest mins, so he ain't helping next yr in that dept.

Mueller hasn't played a full NHL season, ever.

Florida got weaker while their division got stronger. They won't make the playoffs in the east unless they make changes.

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