May 30 2013 02:53PM
It's believed NYI would, under right circumstances, have interest in VAN G Roberto Luongo, tho 1st order of biz is to gauge cost on Nabokov.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 30, 2013
Okay everybody, dust off your Rick DiPietro jokes and load up the capgeek.com/Islanders page because we've got ourselves a live one. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie it's concievable that Garth Snow and the New York Islanders might have interest in a Roberto Luongo trade "under the right circumstances."
Yes "under the right circumstances" is a vague, catch all qualifier but still, this is a big nugget about a potential Roberto Luongo deal from the godfather of hockey coverage. So obviously we'll talk about it at greater length on the other side of the jump.
It makes sense that the New York Islanders would pursue Roberto Luongo this offseason. Realistically they were a quality goaltender away from giving the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins a realistic scare in the first round series between the two clubs earlier this spring. What makes less sense is "gauging cost on Nabokov" who turns 38 this summer, and struggled enormously all season long (and in the postseason too). Nabokov is just not a good bet to give you average goaltending over the next season or two, frankly.
What makes a lot more sense than Nabokov's contract status as a fly in the ointment here, I'd think, is RIck DiPietro's massive contract which extends for eight more seasons at a cost of 4.5 million per year (both cap hit and salary). According to capgeek.com the cost of his buyout is 24 million spread over 16 seasons (1.5 million per year). In addition to DiPietro's well documented durability issues, he has very probably been the league's worst regular starter in between the 2004-05 and 2012 NHL lockouts. It's extremely tough for me to imagine the Islanders - owned by notorious spendthrift Charles Wang - having both Luongo and DiPietro on the books at the same time...
Perhaps DiPietro becomes involved in some way (a trade and buyout perhaps?) in a potential Roberto Luongo deal (which is what McKenzie suggests would happen), in which case I'd imagine the Canucks could recover significant value from the New York Islanders for Luongo. Nino Niederreiter and additional draft picks, anyone? That would be something indeed, though taking on a 24 million dollar liability would be one hell of an investment on the part of Canucks ownership.
Alternatively, perhaps the Islanders are just the latest in a long line of teams to realize they have a need in goal, that the best option avaiable by a long shot is Roberto Luongo, and that there's a chance they can acquire him for pennies on the dollar. That's what's so fun about the "under the right circumstances" qualifier, it could mean literally anything.
Obviously this is something to keep a close eye on, whether or not the Canucks ultimately move Roberto Luongo to the team that originally drafted him this summer. If it goes down: it'll be huge news, and if it doesn't then hopefully the fall out involves as much colourful swearing as the last time the Canucks and Islanders got close to a goaltender trade that wasn't consummated.