The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they signed all-star goaltender Roberto Luongo to a 12-year contract extension. The contract is value at $63-$64 million.
The Canucks now have their first real franchise goalie. And there was much rejoicing…
So what does this all mean, and what is the next step for Mike Gillis?
For the Vancouver Canucks, the Roberto Luongo Era has officially begun.
Luongo will be 43 years old when this contract is finished. Given the length and terms of the contract, it is likely that Luongo will either retire before the end of the contract, or the Canucks will buy out the last 3-4 years of his contract when he ready to move on.
It definitely sounds shifty, but it is perfectly legal within the limits of the CBA. It is similar to the deal that Marion Hossa signed this off-season, and while it looks like a sketchy way around the salary cap, it is all legal. After thinking about this for a few days, when this deal was first rumoured, I think I like this deal. I like it because you get a top 3 goalie in his prime and have him for the rest of his career. You have a goalie who wants to stay in Vancouver. He believes in his team, his coaching staff, his management and this city. He is an all-star, an elite player in this league, and he wanted to be here for the long-term. You HAVE to lock a guy like that in.
There is definitely a lot of risk though with a contract of this length. What if he gets hurt? What if he goes in the tank? What if he loses his mojo? While it’s tough to completely mitigate against injury, you can see that Luongo is the type of player that blows through pressure and eats it up. Yes, he has had one dubious performance in the playoffs which ended the Canucks playoff run. I believe firmly that NOBODY in this town wants Roberto Luongo to exorcise that demon and prove his detractors wrong more than Roberto Luongo. Maybe Mike Gillis.
So what’s next for Gillis and Canucks Management?
They are still over the salary cap, with one too many defencemen. They still need a valued top 6 forward. And now they have a goalie prospect, successful in college and minor leagues, who is poised to break in to the NHL.
So the simple deal would be Cory Schneider, Bieksa and Raymond/Hansen/Grabner for a legit top 6 forward. I say that this is the simplest deal because none of these players have No-Trade Clauses, it addresses the Canucks surpluses and brings in their main need. The Canucks could get far more creative with organizing a deal, but a deal like this must be on the horizon for the Canucks.
They have to trade Cory Schneider before July 1, 2010. He becomes an RFA then, and with Luongo locked in for 13 years, the Canucks really don’t need Schneider. They should get him playing this year behind Luongo, so he can learn from one of the best and get him some big-league playing time. The Canucks need to showcase him to increase his trade value. Of course they could trade him in the next month as part of a package to get under the cap and get a top 6 forward. The Canucks do have options, but they will need to trade Cory Schneider while the iron is hot.
Does this long-term signing mean that there might be a Stanley Cup in the Canucks future?
Well I can guarantee that Mike Gillis, Roberto Luongo and the entire Canucks Army certainly hope so.