Strombabble: An Extroverted Look at Potential Luongo Trade Destinations

Jeff Angus
January 31 2013 09:45AM

Now that the 2013 NHL season is a few weeks old, we are able to begin to form some preliminary thoughts and opinions on teams and players across the league. Because of the condensed schedule, this season is going to be more difficult than a typical 82-game season to predict. The larger the sample size in a given situation, the lower the impact that luck and randomness have on the outcome.

And the opposite holds true for a shortened season with a smaller sample size (in this case, a 48 game season). If the Canucks don’t get Ryan Kesler and/or David Booth back soon, they may be facing an uphill battle in the Western Conference, as they won’t have the benefit of 82 games to get back on track as a dominant hockey club.

And although the inevitable (or is it?) Roberto Luongo trade continues to hang over the Canucks, goaltending has been the least of the problems for Vancouver in the early going. The Eddie Lack injury news (out six months after hip surgery) doesn’t affect the Luongo trade talks all that much, as he wasn’t going to be backing up Cory Schneider this season anyway.

It may give Vancouver the appearance of less leverage in trade negotiations, but I doubt it changes their stance on what an appropriate return would be at all. Let’s take a look and see how the goaltending situations are playing out for teams rumoured to have expressed interest in acquiring Luongo.

Toronto

The tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens has been OK for the Leafs in the early going. It is quite obvious that this version of the Maple Leafs is going to give up far fewer defensive chances compared to the Ron Wilson-coached squad, and that will make things easier on whoever is playing between the pipes.

Both Scrivens and Reimer have GAAs near 3.00, and Scrivens has an ugly .881 save percentage. The sample size of a few games is very small, and with a strong start or two, Scrivens will improve his GAA and save percentage numbers tremendously. I wouldn’t say the Luongo-to-Toronto rumours have been affected at all by the early season play of either goalie all that much, though.

Reimer has been excellent at times, but Luongo still gives the Leafs a much better chance to win (both this season and for the next few) than do either of their young 'tenders. Dave Nonis is a very patient man (it was this patience that likely cost him his job in Vancouver), and it seems like he is willing to outwait Mike Gillis to get a deal he likes. However, he has to make sure he doesn’t wait too long and miss out on acquiring a proven top 10 goaltender for 50 cents on the dollar.

And don’t mention Jonathan Bernier as a trade target – it is debatable if he is even a better goaltender than Reimer.

Chicago

Corey Crawford’s strong start this season has quieted the doubters – for now. With Luongo between the pipes, Chicago would undoudetdly be the Cup frontrunner right now. (Although how could they ever win the big game with Luongo in goal?!)

Florida

To say Florida’s goaltending has been poor in 2013 would be an understatement. Theodore’s GAA of 3.47 is actually better than Scott Clemmensen’s grizzly 4.80 GAA. Florida’s goaltenders over-performed last season, and the universe appears to be balancing itself out through the first few games of 2013 (in addition to stomping all over any luck that Florida's shooters might benefit from). Florida has hopes of repeating as Southeast Division champ, but they may find themselves stuck in the division basement if their goaltending doesn’t turn around, and quickly.

Luongo wants to go to Florida, the Panthers have an obvious need for him (although Jacob Markstrom is waiting for a chance to start), and the team could put together a solid trade package to acquire him without mortgaging the future. We all know that Mike Gillis really wants 6-6 prospect Nick Bjugstad, and Florida has considered that a non-starter for trade talks. However, a trade could be made involving another good prospect – Quinton Howden and Drew Shore would both fit the bill.

Does Florida go through a season with inconsistent goaltending before giving Markstrom a shot to start in 2013-14? Can they sell another losing season to a waning fan base? Dale Tallon has the luxury of a deep and talented prospect pool, and he can give up a few promising youngsters without hurting the long-term prospects of his team all that much. Luongo would give the Panthers an instant injection of consistency and talent in goal.

Philadelphia

When the rumours broke a few weeks ago that the Flyers were interested in Luongo, many in the hockey world were stunned. The Flyers had paid handsomely for Ilya Bryzgalov less than two years ago – would they be willing to shell out over $40 million to buy out their mercurial starting goaltender? The Flyers seem to have interest in every single high-profile player who becomes available, and I’d chalk up the Luongo interest more to them doing their due diligence than anything else.

Unless Bryzgalov melts down this season (and/or in the playoffs, if the Flyers qualify), I don’t see the team buying him out and trading for Luongo – although that would be the most “Flyers-y” thing possible, wouldn’t it?

Edmonton

The Luongo-to-Edmonton trade rumours continue to intrigue me – would the Canucks ever trade a proven star goaltender to a divisional rival with a ton of upside? Colorado was a team chalk-full of young talent back in 1996 when the acquired Patrick Roy from the Montreal Canadiens, and we all know how that story played out.

In terms of pure value, Edmonton could put together a nice package for Bobby Lu. The rumour we have heard involves Sam Gagner – a solid top six forward with connections to the Canucks (his dad Dave works in the organization), and the Canucks could probably pry Magnus Paajarvi from the Oilers as well. However, could Gillis sleep at night knowing that Luongo would instantly transform the Oilers into playoff contenders?

I am sure many fans are getting tired of reading the Luongo trade speculationm but I find it fascinating, as all sides involved have handled a potentially tricky situation with a lot of class and patience. Luongo understands the process and doesn’t want to cause any problems. Cory Schneider, who has deserved to start for a few years now, continues to wait for his chance to really cement his position as “the man” in Vancouver - something that he'll have to wait even longer for now apparently, on the heels of Luongo's two consecutive quality starts against the Kings and Avalanche this week.

And for Gillis, it is a high-profile game of chicken with several other NHL executives. The coming days/weeks/months are going to be really interesting to follow. Whoever gets Luongo will be acquiring a consistently elite goaltender, a great teammate, and one of the funniest people on Twitter.

Luongo had a fantastic game against Colorado on Wednesday night, and in the early going this season he is sure doing the Canucks a favour with his strong play.

Previous Posts from Jeff

F2cf6fd9972ec927b678af6dba1e37be
Jeff shares his Canuck-related thoughts with the Army a few times per week. His work can also be found over at DobberHockey.com, as well as his personal blog, AngusCertified.com. Give him a follow on Twitter @anguscertified.
Avatar
#1 Adam
January 31 2013, 10:12AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I'd trade Schneider instead of Lou.

-Lou is battle tested, CS not so much. For example, the Ducks opener - high pressure game, not a good result.

-Can you say for sure Gillis & Co are shrewd adjudicators of talent? Yes (Kassian) and no (Ballard/Grabner, Booth/his salary/penchant for killing stuff and Sturm/knees). Decent chance they bet wrong on Schneider.

-Nucks would get a better return for Schneider, Lou would play at a high level until his late 30s.

Trade Schneider

Avatar
#2 nanodummy
January 31 2013, 11:07AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Sturm was traded instantly and Booth is totally a 4.5 million dollar player. That's what you pay second line talent.

Grabner for Ballard is dicey, as we have a glut of third line wingers and our D core is notoriously injury prone.

All that Grabner might have been has been acquired and more with Booth and ,and we also have depth defenseman who may not be worth 4.2, but is certainly NHL calibre. We won that trade, unless that 1st rounder becomes something amazing.

I think we lose perspective with how spoiled we are in defensive depth, but there are teams where Ballard would be acquitting himself just fine in the top 4.

Avatar
#3 @DaNucklhead
January 31 2013, 12:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

While you are willing to take a look at the potential trade partners already mentioned in the media, I would suggest a few others.

To me Detroit should be taking a serious look at Luongo. They tried to make a splash this summer on Parise and Suter and combine that with the loss of Lidstrom and a couple other blueliners over the last couple years. Everyone thinks of them as not willing to spend on goaltending, however over the years they had added high profile goalies Hasek and Cujo. If Ken Holland is wanting to continue to be a perennial playoff team he should be looking to upgrade in net.

Washington is another one that has made the media even if it has been shot down by GM George McPhee. Had He moved on his goaltending situation a few seasons ago, Washington may have won one of those game sevens they lost in the playoffs. And with how they are starting out this season a significant player shake up might be in order.

Winnipeg is another destination where a star player and significant upgrade in net might thrust them into the playoff picture in the eastern conference. I don't know what direction this team is going, but bringing in a player like Luongo should be a step in telling their fans they want to be a better club.

I have to admit, I haven't heard anything to suspect any of these teams of being in the hunt for Luongo, but if Gillis was speaking some truth about having a deal in place with a team nobody is talking about... well, I wouldn't be surprised. That being said, I don't know what teams Luongo would waive his no trade to go to. I would probably eliminate the Peg.

Avatar
#4 JHM
January 31 2013, 05:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

PHOENIX? With Smith injured... Yandle constantly rumoured to be on the trade block, zero seconds SH TOI after six games, nice points... (Western Conference)

TORONTO? Leafs are in desperate need. Good young tenders are in a position to be ruined if flamed in the fires too much...

WASHINGTON? With Orlov in the AHL, one might argue that they could afford to be bold and move a blueliner... (Eastern Conference). Philly has great prospects too...

TAMPA? Can TB really be happy calling their goaltending complete?

DETROIT? This ever patient European organization, famous for developing from within and re-hand crafting others throw aways...

Avatar
#5 JCDavies
January 31 2013, 06:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Adam

The Canucks weren't going to be able to keep Grabner anyways (they would've lost him to a waiver claim) and there were doubts about whether his defensive game would develop. Dale Tallon (who IS good at evaluating talent) gave him away for nothing only a couple months later. He didn't really have much value at that point.

Sturm was a low-risk depth move, nothing more.

I think the Lou vs Schneider discussion is pretty much over. Personally, I always prefer the younger player in decisions like this. Schneider could be a great goalie for the next 10 years or more and if the Canucks kept Luongo (and trader Schneider) they would need to begin the search for his successor pretty much immediately. And good young goalies are hard to find.

Avatar
#6 KleptoKlown
January 31 2013, 08:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@JCDavies

That good young goalie could be Lack.

I think trading Schneider instead of Lou has always been in the very backs of peoples minds. Schneider would fetch a better return than Luongo, and Lack could be the 2nd coming of Schneider. Serving as Luongo's back up while gradually getting more starts, and more meaningful starts. Off the ice Luongo has shown to be a great mentor.

Of course the return on Schneider would have to be phenomenal to even consider this.

All that being said, I'm sure the choice to move Luo has already been made. It still gives us fans something to think and talk about it.

Avatar
#7 JCDavies
January 31 2013, 09:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@KleptoKlown

It's Possible Lack could be that guy but he is already 25 and only two years younger than Schneider. Would Lack want to be a backup for the next 5-7 years? If he is good enough to be a great starting goalie he would, like Luongo and Schneider, also expect to be a starter somewhere.

Also, though I agree Schneider would bring a greater return than Luongo, I am not sure if the value of that return would be worth more than the extra years of Schneider the Canucks would be giving up.

"All that being said, I'm sure the choice to move Luo has already been made. It still gives us fans something to think and talk about it."

Yeah, I'm all for speculation too. I was just expressing my opinion that, from an organizational standpoint, I don't think the team are even considering moving Schneider anymore. It would be interesting to know what they have been offered for him, though.

Avatar
#8 Canuck57
February 13 2013, 03:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I have to chuckle every time Edmonton and Luongo are mentioned in trade rumors, and this even after we are all reminded of Luongo's "no trade clause". The consensus seems to be that it is unlikely that Vancouver would trade such a player to a rival in their own division. Although true, I also think that there are other points to consider here. Yes it's fun to speculate at the possibilities, but you have to look at this realistically. Luongo's no trade clause means he has the final say where he will end up. With this in mind do you really think Luongo will want to go to Edmonton? So much has been discussed about Luongo's "list" of teams to where he would consider to be traded. Does anyone here really believe that Edmonton is on that list? Remember, this is a guy who has openly stated that he would like nothing better than to return to Florida, where is wife lives. I would imagine that Miami, or a city that is within an hour or two away would be his first, second, and third choices :-).

Comments are closed for this article.