Strombabble: the Canucks might bring him back to start the season, but Luongo doesn't want to stay in Vancouver Long-Term

Thomas Drance
January 15 2013 06:59AM

As the Roberto Luongo saga has dragged on (and on, and on), and the prospect of the Canucks returning their two star goaltenders has become increasingly more likely, we've taken some time out to note that Luongo's and Schneider's good-will has enabled Mike Gillis to wait for the right trade. But at some point, things will come to a head, right? I mean these are two fiercely competitive goaltenders who deserve to get the bulk of the starts for some NHL club... 

Well as it turns out, that "aura of good-will" may just have an expiration date. Here's a good pull from Sporting News editor and "Friend of the Blog" Sean Gentille:

If the Vancouver Canucks hold on to Roberto Luongo, it'll likely help them succeed in the short season. Sporting News' Jesse Spector and Canucks Army's Cam Charron lay out the reasons behind that theory well enough.

Luongo, on the trade block currently and for the last several months, is cool with that. What he doesn't want to do, though, is stick with Vancouver beyond the 48-game 2013 schedule.

Roberto Luongo could well wind up playing 2013 in Vancouver, after all. "I'm willing to stay here this season because it will be short. But I do not want to stay here long term," Luongo told RDS.ca, according to a translation of the story, which originally appeared in French.

In case you suspect that something may have been lost in translation here, here's the quote as it appears in French on the RDS site

“Non. Je suis prêt à rester ici cette saison parce qu’elle sera courte. Mais je ne veux pas rester ici à long terme.”

Well then. Click past the jump for more.

Here's why I find this quote so interesting. At this point, Mike Gillis and the Canucks are smack dab in the middle of a rather delicate balancing act. The team has needs on the Luongo front that are superficially contradictory to one another: on the one hand, they want us (and potential suitors) to know that the market for Luongo is as hot as Mike Gillis said it was this week. On the other hand, they also need potential trade partners to think they're happy to keep Luongo indefinitely, otherwise how do you convince a rival club to pay full price for Luongo's services? Luongo's comments to RDS kind of contradict that latter part, huh?

There's one other morsel I'll throw out there. I caught Pierre LeBrun on That's Hockey yesterday on TSN (actually if you follow that link and watch the video labelled "Touching Base" you can catch the full segment), and he was saying that "talks are on hold" and that a trade between the Maple Leafs and the Canucks for Luongo looks increasingly less likely because the teams can't seem to agree on the price. LeBrun indicated that the Canucks are standing firm on their request for a top-prospect as well as as an NHL roster player which would match up well with Gillis' recent comments on the matter (via Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun): 

“We're at a point with this team where we want specific types of players coming back to us that can help us today and down the road,” Gillis explained. “I think that's a reasonable request so we're going to stick to it.”

So... Anyone else beginning to get the sense that Luongo really might start the season in Vancouver after all? Or alternatively, have we reached that weird stage in negotiations where everyone pretends to walk away from the table, only to execute a deal in quick order? Let me put this bluntly: I really have no fucking idea at this point. 

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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 Cam Charron
January 15 2013, 11:20AM
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Your headline is so long, it must be compensating for something.

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#2 DCR
January 15 2013, 07:14AM
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Keeping him for this season makes total sense; there's a greater need for two good goalies and the cap space is there.

Ideally, they go deep and he reinforces his value for next season.

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#3 Kent Wilson
January 15 2013, 07:19AM
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Longest. Title. Ever.

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#4 Graphic Comments
January 15 2013, 07:49AM
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Said all along that best return would come midway through season when someone is facing injuries or extreme pressure to make playoffs or make a push for the Cup. Just going to be a tighter mid season this time around.

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#6 VK63
January 15 2013, 09:15AM
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I think the entire argument on where Lou goes hinges on one solitary observation.

Is there anyone out there stupid enough to hang their organization with that contract?

Couple that with the fact it actually becomes an even larger albatross going forward as Lou ages and the inevitable wear and tear on a "road hard and put up wet" body begin to manifest.

In my personal opinion the only organization that should be burdened with the inevitable buy out of this particular contract is the one that inked it in the first place. Couple that observation with the dubious nature of its merit in the first place (c/w a league review of its "legality") and Lou appears to be exactly where he should be. (assuming hes still a canuck as I write this)

You pays your money, you takes your chances. Sometimes you win... sometimes you lose. Its business after all.

Is there a company/team out there desperate enough to cripple their franchise for an arguably diminishing asset...... for a term that by all accounts shall see payment made in the end to a "worthless" asset.

Ironically... there probably is such a team.... and by extension why we need things like lockouts...... in yet another failed attempt to fix stupid.

If Gillis actually gets anything even remotely resembling a contributing asset when he divests the nucks of this mill stone, a statue should be erected in his honour.

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#7 Senrik Hedin
January 15 2013, 11:03AM
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@roughneck Basically you are saying that Luongo has a bad contract and therefore teams won't want him.

All-star goalie capable of playing at a very high level for another 4-5 years at 5.3M cap hit who can be bought out after 5 years for little money, and with "Luongo rule", the cap hit, if he should retire, goes to the team that signed him (or a variation of this principle). Hmmm diminishing asset did you say?

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#8 KleptoKlown
January 15 2013, 12:56PM
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If Scott Gomez and his contract can be traded, so can Luongo.

If Brian Campbell and his contract can be traded, so can Luongo.

The Flyers, Leafs, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Islanders and Oilers all have goaltending questions starting the season. You could even add the Jets to the equation as Pavlac seems to have ruffled some feathers.

If any of those teams have goaltending issues throughout the season, then Mike Gilis' price suddenly won't seem too steep.

It's all about supply and demand. Right now, teams seem to have a "wait and see" approach, so the demand is low, and the supply is low. The Canucks are holding Lou until the demand is higher. This sets the stage for an optimal return.

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#9 lol
January 16 2013, 02:27AM
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Ya, I think we're all clueless at this point.

What I am guessing is based on Gillis history. ad historically, he's bee patient. With the Hodgson trade, he was only willing to trade him for 6 players in the entire league. Yes, small sample size. I'd wager my condo he's getting that specific with each team who wants Luongo.

I would also like Luongo to stop doing interviews with every media reporter from here to China. The more he talks, the more risk for Gillis and his leverage..... as we've see from this latest comment. I know everyones like "oh Luongos been a class act through this whole thing" blah blah. Those people must have forgotten that his comments about "time to move on" and "My first choice is Florida" set this whole 3 ring circus into motion in June. Rick Nash never said a WORD to the media or anyone publicly about his trade request. That's the ideal situation - esp for the teams GM. Either way, enough with the interviews - we get it.

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