On the Latest Luongo/DiPietro report: Has it Really Come to This?

Thomas Drance
June 28 2013 01:10PM

This latest Roberto Luongo to the Islanders rumour is a nonsense leg slapper. But if the report is true, I'd have loved to be in the Canucks war room to see the look on Mike Gillis's face when Islanders General Manager Garth Snow made the offer.

Read past the jump for more.

As bad as Roberto Luongo's contract is, and you might recall that Luongo himself has admitted that his current deal "sucks," it's not even in the same suckage stratosphere as Rick DiPietro's life time pact.

Where Roberto Luongo consistently posts an elite even-strength save percentage, Rick DiPietro is the leagues worst regular starter over the past decade. Where a good portion of Roberto Luongo's value comes from his workhorse durability, Rick DiPietro gets injured more easily than Samuel L. Jackson's character in Unbreakable. 

So what's the possible incentive for the Canucks to do a straight up swap in which they exchange Roberto Luongo for unquestionably the single worst contract in professional hockey? Well if they're going to excercise a compliance buyout on Roberto Luongo anyway, then trading Luongo for DiPietro would at least save the team three million dollars.

It would also allow the Canucks to avoid placing Luongo on waivers, which he'll have to clear before he can be bought out because Luongo has a No-Trade Clause, not a No Movement Clause. If Luongo hits the waiver wire it's possible he could be claimed by a conference rival (like the Oilers, perhaps), so I suppose there's some value in controlling where Luongo ultimately lands instead of going the waiver route. 

There's some value in having more control in the situation sure, but not much of it. From the Islanders perspective, they'd be avoiding 24 million in sunk costs and upgrading their goaltending position significantly in one fell swoop. So it's a total no brainer for Garth Snow. If this report is true, then Snow is essentially gambling that the Canucks might be desperate enough to save three million and ensure that Luongo doesn't immediately improve a rivals goaltending. It's a smart move.

But it's also a bluff. Rick DiPietro isn't an NHL caliber goaltender at this point, and it's tough to envision the Islanders' notoriously spendthrift ownership group buying him out (even though such a maneuver would be a slam dunk for a healthier NHL club). As such DiPietro is essentially a 4.5 million dollar liability through 2021, or a 1.5 million dollar liability through 2029. If the Islanders want to buy themselves out of that position, which is essentailly what they're trying to do according to this Kypreos report, then it's going to cost them more than three million dollars...

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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 antro
June 28 2013, 01:29PM
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This is crazy-talk, I don't think the Canucks will do it.

But one correction, regarding "It would also allow the Canucks to avoid placing Luongo on waivers, which he'll have to clear before he can be bought out because Luongo has a No-Trade Clause, not a No Movement Clause. If Luongo hits the waiver wire it's possible he could be claimed by a conference rival (like the Oilers, perhaps), so I suppose there's some value in controlling where Luongo ultimately lands instead of going the waiver route."

A few days ago, Bob McKenzie tweeted the following (sorry, no idea how to embed link): "Any player with No Move clause (Lecavalier, Briere) can be bought out without going on waivers if they elect to opt out of waiver option."

If I'm not mistaken, Lecavalier didn't go to waivers.

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#2 antro
June 28 2013, 01:34PM
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@ myself: never mind, I can't read! Yes, Luongo only has a NTC not an NMC.

Doh!

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#3 NM00
June 28 2013, 01:51PM
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A straight up Lou for Dipietro swap makes no sense for Vancouver.

Even if Aquillini is worried about the bottom line, surely he understands it is better to spend an extra $3 million to buyout Lou and save the $7+ mill cap penalty the Canucks will pay when Lou retires.

However, I think GMs are right to be making lowball offers.

They should wait until the buyout window expires before making proper offers for Lou.

The Canucks will have no outs at that point unless they actually change course and move Schneider.

Or if Lou gets bought out, he will be much, much cheaper than the nearly $34 million he is owed over the next 5 years.

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#4 Collin
June 28 2013, 02:07PM
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What about the cap recapture?

Are the Canucks free from this if they trade Lu? If not, they would definitely want more than 3M savings. This deal would save the Islanders so much wasted money I don't know how they wouldn't jump at the opportunity by sweetening the pot with a decent pick or prospect. Though, knowing Gillis, he's probably asking for their 1st or a top prospect.

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#5 orcasfan
June 28 2013, 02:12PM
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Garbage! This is the kind of "proposal" that doesn't even merit one inch of space, let alone a whole "article". Every time you and the MSM push the idea of a Luongo buy-out, it becomes more difficult for Gillis to actually accomplish a trade. Do you understand the power of the media? Those idiots at 1040, especially Sekeres, have been pushing the "coming reality" of a Luongo buyout for the past couple of weeks. Every day they, and their dupes from the MSM spout forth with this twisted piece of propaganda. I don't know what their motivation is, apart from a desire to stir up a big story.

If Luongo's contract is such a terrible albatross hanging around Gillis' neck, what do these same fools think about the contract of someone like Parise? What happens to this guy in a few years, say when he hits 33 or so. His contract still carries a hit of 7.8 mil, and it continues till he is 39 years old! Roughly the same scenario with Suter. These contracts are much worse than Lu's.

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#6 Mantastic
June 28 2013, 02:22PM
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if vinny and richards can get bought out, luongo will get bought out. there is no appetit for his contract in any market.

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#7 Mack
June 28 2013, 02:35PM
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I have to believe Snow would throw in an asset or two if the Canucks were truly willing to swallow DiPietro's contract. It'd be too much of a win for the Isles pass it up, even if they gave up a young player like Nino.

My dream is Nielsen, even if there's no way it happens. Perfect 3C, and it keeps the dream of an all-Danish line alive! Isles do have have a lot of centres (JT, Nielsen, Cizikas, Nelson, Strome) as it is and might be cheap enough to ship out Frans in favour of a chepaer, younger player... Unlikely, but it would a great return, and worth buying out DiPi for.

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#8 NM00
June 28 2013, 02:41PM
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@orcasfan

"Every time you and the MSM push the idea of a Luongo buy-out, it becomes more difficult for Gillis to actually accomplish a trade."

Gillis' asking price is what has made it difficult for Gillis to actually accomplish a trade.

GMs have better things to worry about than what is written in the media.

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#9 Dopeadballs
June 28 2013, 02:59PM
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I'd be totally into this if the isles gave up some talent to move the deal along. Say a strome or a cizikas. What's the point of being a big-money team if you aren't willing to take advantage of other teams by flashing your wallet?

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#10 Mantastic
June 28 2013, 05:09PM
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@Dopeadballs

strome and cizikas have completely different values...

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#11 Lol
June 28 2013, 05:14PM
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I love how quick you guys are in posting info! You guys are the best.

But seriously Snow, get your head out of your a$$. Why would Vancouver even consider this? They would buy Luongo out themselves first. It allows them to negate Luongos contract so if he retires early, their cap space isn't effected. Plus, it will allow Luongo to choose his own destination. And we all know he's on the first plane back to Panthers to sign for pennies.

And of course, there's always waivers where it won't cost them a penny. They could save themselves you know, $24M. Mckenzie says he'll be claimed.

Buying out a 20+M contract is a lot easier for a wealthy team like Vancouver than it is for a poor team like NYI. Clearly, no other team is willing to take Dipi's contract - and they're getting desperate. Snow pretending he has some sort of leverage? Lol. Good luck with Dipis contract on your books for the next 10+ years paying him a lot of $$ you guys don't have. Meanwhile, Luongo plays in Fla and you still don't have a goalie.

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#12 orcasfan
June 28 2013, 07:18PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Every time you and the MSM push the idea of a Luongo buy-out, it becomes more difficult for Gillis to actually accomplish a trade."

Gillis' asking price is what has made it difficult for Gillis to actually accomplish a trade.

GMs have better things to worry about than what is written in the media.

Please tell me just what makes Lu's contract so bad that he has no value in the trade market! I assume you, NMOO, like everyone else, looks at the term alone, as being the impossible hurdle. (I assume that because his cap hit is totally reasonable). So, from my understanding of the new "Luongo rule", if Lu retires before the end of his contract, it's Vancouver that is liable for the penalty/make-up cap hit. Am I wrong? And, if this is, indeed, the case, then why would other GM's worry about the long term nature of his contract. Of course, he could be injured...but then he could be placed on LTIR, and the cap-hit would not count (because he signed the contract before he was 35). Am I missing something here?

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#13 NM00
June 28 2013, 07:53PM
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@orcasfan

"Please tell me just what makes Lu's contract so bad."

Just wait a few days and NHL GMs will tell you how bad Lou's contract is.

If Gillis can meet his asking price for "giving away an all star" and bring Kadri and Gardiner to Van City, I retract my statement.

PS: Ha!

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#14 Ruprecht
June 28 2013, 07:54PM
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Mantastic wrote:

if vinny and richards can get bought out, luongo will get bought out. there is no appetit for his contract in any market.

Richards hasn't been bought out nor will he be. There's no comparing Vinny's contract to this one. The cap hit was far more outrageous for what he brought. Lu is actually pretty reasonable hit wise and the front loaded part is done. It's the term that may scare certain teams off. Not all. Also the NTC which gives Lu the final say on his destination...I sincerely doubt the Isles are a team on his list of preferred destinations.

There's no buyout option here, period, unless we are compensated by an asset that makes our money, and one valuable buyout, worth spending. Let the Isles spend their own money and buyout. Also, it makes sense to try to keep a buyout option or 2 for next season as it will be more valuable to other teams as they get spent up.

There's a trade out there...he's too valuable to be had in the bargain bin.

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#15 Joe
June 28 2013, 08:28PM
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#11: Calm down at your outrage towards the Islanders (seriously, what'd they ever do to you)? Remind me how many Stanley Cup championships the Canucks have won? And remind me which team is not having an AHL team this season so they don't have to spend the money on it? Right, the Canucks. So worry about your own team.

And for the record, the Islanders aren't trying to trade DiPietro; they will either continue to bury him in the AHL, or buy them out. Unless the Canucks take him for Luongo, which they might, because they're just going to buy Luongo out anyway; may as well save some money and make sure he doesn't join a rival.

And for anyone who thinks they're getting Strome, Nino, Cizikas, Nelson, Nielsen, or any core Islander player, they're delusional. Luongo's on an albatross contract; any team that takes him is doing VAN a favor.

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#16 orcasfan
June 28 2013, 09:58PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Please tell me just what makes Lu's contract so bad."

Just wait a few days and NHL GMs will tell you how bad Lou's contract is.

If Gillis can meet his asking price for "giving away an all star" and bring Kadri and Gardiner to Van City, I retract my statement.

PS: Ha!

So, what you're saying is that Lu's contract is "bad" if Gillis can't get the equivalent of Kadri and Gardiner in return? I have no idea just what Gillis is really willing to get in return these days. But I doubt it would be anything that steep. I don't think it is only the contract that is balking the other GMs. There is a lot of gamesmanship going on. Since everyone knows that Gillis has to get rid of Lu, I think they're all just waiting till the "price" hits it's basement level.

I would not be surprised at all to see nothing happen this weekend. But the other interested GMs may just wait through the summer - essentially play the waiting game with Gillis. On that basis, it looks like the other GMs have the upper hand. But, as time ticks by, I wonder how cohesive that group of rival GMs will be. The fact is that someone will end up with a great goalie. Who is going to compromise first to ensure that they get Lu? And, by the way, why would any GM in the mix tell any of the MSM pundits about their level of interest in Lu? That would totally defeat their strategy.

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#17 NM00
June 28 2013, 10:39PM
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@orcasfan

The Kadri/Gardiner thing was a reference to Gillis' reported asking price last summer. You know, when he claimed he can't just give all-star players such as Luongo away.

If Lou gets bought out and becomes a free agent, what exactly do you think he would receive in free agency?

Probably something like 2-3 years and $5 million a year similar to the reported price of Lecavalier.

Backstrom is only a year older than Lou and signed for 3/10.5. While Lou is probably held in slightly higher regard than Backstrom by NHL GMs, I doubt it's by so much that a GM would take on the extra 6 years and $30 million...

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#18 Ruprecht
June 28 2013, 11:29PM
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@NM00

"Backstrom is only a year older than Lou and signed for 3/10.5. While Lou is probably held in slightly higher regard than Backstrom by NHL GMs, I doubt it's by so much that a GM would take on the extra 6 years and $30 million..."

You do realize we are talking about NHL GM's here?That Streit contract signed today seems to point to the contrary. I think somebody will be willing to live with the term in exchange for the hit. (My outlandish predictions from another thread either Tampa or Florida.)

I also couldn't agree with Orcasfan any more on his last post. Most of what is going on is media generated. No GM in play would say a word. Which is why I doubt Toronto was a serious option. Perhaps they were used to gauge market value, but not a team I see Lu waiving his NTC for.

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#19 Josh
June 29 2013, 01:11AM
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@Ruprecht

"You do realize we are talking about NHL GM's here?That Streit contract signed today seems to point to the contrary. I think somebody will be willing to live with the term in exchange for the hit. (My outlandish predictions from another thread either Tampa or Florida.)"

Flyers are one of the wealthier teams in the league with a tendency for making rather bizarre moves... Tampa and Florida, they are not.

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#20 JCDavies
June 29 2013, 01:24AM
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@orcasfan

"So, from my understanding of the new "Luongo rule", if Lu retires before the end of his contract, it's Vancouver that is liable for the penalty/make-up cap hit. Am I wrong? "

It is my understanding that any team that accumulates cap savings from Lu's contract will be liable for their own portion of the penalty and, as long as Luongo's salary > cap hit, there will be a cap "advantage" that needs to be "recaptured" - over the next five seasons that would amount to about $6.9 million.

Vancouver will be liable for the approx. $7.4 million in cap savings that they have already acquired but not any savings that occur while Luongo plays for another team. Likewise, any team that acquires Luongo will not be liable for Vancouver's cap savings but they would be liable for their own.

I might be wrong, but that is how I read it.

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#21 orcasfan
June 29 2013, 09:38AM
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JCDavies wrote:

"So, from my understanding of the new "Luongo rule", if Lu retires before the end of his contract, it's Vancouver that is liable for the penalty/make-up cap hit. Am I wrong? "

It is my understanding that any team that accumulates cap savings from Lu's contract will be liable for their own portion of the penalty and, as long as Luongo's salary > cap hit, there will be a cap "advantage" that needs to be "recaptured" - over the next five seasons that would amount to about $6.9 million.

Vancouver will be liable for the approx. $7.4 million in cap savings that they have already acquired but not any savings that occur while Luongo plays for another team. Likewise, any team that acquires Luongo will not be liable for Vancouver's cap savings but they would be liable for their own.

I might be wrong, but that is how I read it.

But that situation is true for many contracts out there. Off the top of my head, look at Los Angeles with those long term contracts for Doughty, Quick, Richards and Carter. The chances of those guys (with the possible exception of Quick) playing through the term of their contracts is pretty slim. So, LA and whatever other team they play for over the next few years will be liable in the same way that Vancouver, etc is for Lu.

So, again, why the big hate for Lu's contract?

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#22 Josh
June 29 2013, 10:46AM
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@orcasfan

Because right now, LA hasn't turned around and benched those guys and tried to trade them. When Doughty, Richards, and Carter are 33/34, the Kings might have a lot of difficulty moving them.

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#23 JCDavies
June 29 2013, 12:11PM
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@orcasfan

I don't really get the big hate for Lu's contract either but it's hard to deny that it exists.

Those King's contracts you listed aren't really that similar to Lu's. Lu will be 42 when the last year of his contract begins. It is possible, but unlikely, he is still playing in the NHL at the age of 42 - for a measly $1 million, no less.

When their contracts end, Carter and Richards will be 35, and Quick will be 37. If they play out the length of their contracts, which is much more likely, there won't be an advantage that needs to recaptured.

Doughty's contract is actually the opposite of Luongo's: the cap hit > salary for the first four years and the contract doesn't accumulate any significant cap savings over the last four. Besides, it's hard to imagine Doughty retiring before before his contract ends; before he turns 30.

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#24 Ruprecht
June 29 2013, 02:22PM
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Josh wrote:

@Ruprecht

"You do realize we are talking about NHL GM's here?That Streit contract signed today seems to point to the contrary. I think somebody will be willing to live with the term in exchange for the hit. (My outlandish predictions from another thread either Tampa or Florida.)"

Flyers are one of the wealthier teams in the league with a tendency for making rather bizarre moves... Tampa and Florida, they are not.

Oh they do. Malone and Lecavalier. Salo's contract raised my eyebrows. Campbell and Jovo kind of stick out with Florida. It's just a matter of them knowing they have the leverage as a port of call for Lu. But they will open their wallets like the rest of them provided the circumstances are right. Florida has a gaping hole in net and the cap structure to accommodate...and they know it.

I can't help but think we're watching a giant game of chicken unfurl. Especially with the banter going on in the press. But would you be comfortable as a GM going forward with what those teams have in net? At some point somebody has to give.

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#25 Lemming
June 30 2013, 07:22AM
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I'm sure you could get even just a pick back for Roberto, no need to do something stupid like this.

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