Kiprusoff vs Luongo in the Goalie Trade Market



It’s no secert by now that Roberto Luongo is on his way out of Vancouver. All but usurped by the younger and cheaper Corey Schneider this year, word is the latter won’t sign with the team this offseason while the former is around. Also, the older guy has asked for a trade anyways.

When we discussed Kipper and the Flames other goaltending assets recently I noted this might be a good time to trade Kiprusoff this year, in part because of the dearth of other starter options on the market. There will probably be at least six teams looking for solutions in net this summer: Toronto, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Columbus, Florida and New Jersey (probably). Two of those clubs are likely to land Harding and Vokoun, who are the only worthwhile UFA options. That would have left the Flames auctioning Kipper to up to four motivated trade partners.

Luongo entering the fray obviously complicates things.

Different Assets

Although both Kipper and Luongo offer solutions for clubs desperate for competent netminding, they are very different assets for a variety of reasons:

– Luongo is 4 years younger, has a better recent track record and is signed long term.

– Kipper is older and not as good, but his contract is significantly less risk. While Luongo is signed until 2020, Kipper’s real salary falls to $5M next year and just $1.5M in the final season.

Luongo is a better long-term solution and more likely to put up a few more elite seasons. Kipper, on the hand, is a substantially smaller commitment. So while the Flames and Canucks will be marketing their wares to the same general collection of teams, each potential partner’s interest will not just swing on the availability of Kipper and Lou as well as other options (Harding, Vokoun), but also how they weight the particular benefits and risks associated with each guy.

Other Factors

Another variable in this dance is the fact that Vancouver more or less has to deal Luongo this off-season and he will have significant influence over where he ends up owing to his NTC. That should limit the Canuck’s leverage when it comes to some of the, uh, less desirable markets like Columbus.

The Flames, on the other hand, have the option to wait out Kipper’s NMC (which expires this July) and then auction off his services at their leisure. While this off-season represents perhaps the Flames best opportunity to leverage Kipper for a quality return, they aren’t going to be forced by external factors like a trade demand. The Flames can therefore market Kipper to a wider range of teams and can afford to wait for the best possible deal.

It will be interesting to see what happens with both guys going forward. Goalies are rarely dealt and don’t often command massive returna. Luongo has been a an elite puckstopper for years (albeit with a "choker" reputation) but his contract is onerous and his NTC and the impetus to deal him before the new years starts might limit the return for Vancouver. Kipper is older, closer to average, but has a less risky deal and can be traded to anyone at any time after July 1, so the Flames can afford to wait for the best trade possible.

Related: Mitch Smith of M&G has a thorough post on potential trade partners and returns for the Flames and Kipper this summer.

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    • RexLibris

      Agreed Arik.

      I read Mitch’s article and there were some valid points (namely that, while painful, Toronto is likely the best fit solution for a trade) however I also think that he has overvalued Kiprusoff by contrasting this situation with one that is eleven years older and happened under an entirely different business/hockey strategy.

      Buffalo moved Hasek because they couldn’t afford him anymore. Calgary is moving Kiprusoff because they need to leverage assets for a strategic rebuild. Not because his play has outclassed their owner’s chequebook.

      If we were to take circumstances and shuffle them around a little so that Kiprusoff could be traded come June 1st rather than July 1st, then perhaps he could be moved for two middle-first round picks such as Washington has this year. Perhaps. But to suggest that he is worth Toronto’s 5th overall, Joe Colborne and Cody Franson is a stretch. While I don’t doubt that Burke will have interest in moving his 1st round pick, the package Mitch proposes is closer to the asking price for Rick Nash.

      The Chicago and Florida Panthers scenarios are closer to what I would estimate for Kiprusoff’s market value this summer.

      I will say, though, that I am glad there wasn’t a suggestion that Scott Howson move their 2nd overall pick for Kiprusoff. That would have jumped the shark.

      • Mitch2

        My review is that top G are a rare commodity to hit the trade market. When they do, they have been undervalued. History shows that.

        The risk is more minimal for a older top G because the fact is they are proven, if they are still a starter in their mid-30s. It means they are good. The young unproven net minder may or may not hold up.

        Here is a good article which drives home the point from Leafs nation. Numbers and graphs included.

        Again – I went to the Hasek trade because of age and again the Wings won that trade easy. They got Hasek for a cheap cost and that is why I use that low trade return for Hasek as the bar for Kipper.

        You even note the fact Buff was under pressure to move him and had to take that lower return but don’t acknowledge the Flames are under no such pressure and can wait for a better offer ?

        Kipper is not worth the 5th overall pick, it is a 1st round draft swap with Toronto, they get Calgary’s 14th overall pick. Toronto HAS a 1st round pick.

        You neglect to mention that the other player included in the trade is Mike Komisarek, who in my calculations has considerable negative value. 4.5 million Cap hit and playing the bottom pairing in Toronto? He doesn’t up the Leafs side of the trade he lowers it.

        Once again the trade is

        Kipper / Carson / Calgary’s 1st (14th overall)

        Toronto’s 1st (5th overall) / Joe Colborne / Mike Komisarek / Franson / rights to Gust.

        The thing with Toronto is there is many, many ways to turn the dials. Kipper can not get the first round pick swap AND Joe Colborne.

        If there is an error for me in this trade it may be because I see Komisarek with HUGE negative value. He is a bottom pairing Cap Hog for 2 years but taking him means Colborne and Franson can be included with the Flames throwing Carson back.

        I don’t think you saw the details of the trade. Nash would get the 5th overall pick outright, no draft swap, Kipper certainly won’t unless the Flames sweeten their side of the deal.

        And for the record the very suggestion that Kipper is worth the 2nd overall pick is outrageous.

        I want to stress that it is not Kipper for Toronto’s pick, it is Kipper and Calgary 1st for Toronto’s 1st and Colborne, that is the core of it and even that requires imo, a negative value player coming back from Toronto because it is too heavy for Calgary.

        Now if that is overvaluation, I don’t know what to say…

    • Mitch2

      That’s a hit and run comment.

      (1) Composing trade scenarios are extremely difficult. Which might be why I have never seen you even attempt it.

      (2) I never said Hasek = Kipper. I said the trade was a bar of comparison for trade value due to the player’s same age. Hasek had the negative factor of injuries. He missed the prior season completely and after the trade missed another full season. Kipper has perfect health.

      Buffalo was also forced to trade him due to cost and his trade return was lessened by this, they were on the phone trying to move him – (minus) for Buff. The Flames are not desperate to trade Kipper, the market should want him (plus) for the Flames.

      I used Hasek’s return of a 1st line player, first round pick and a conditional as a strike point in calibrating trade value and the proposed trades are all lower than it. I am not sure if you are aware of that.

      (3) I also reviewed over ten years of trades involving top G. Not a single one, even in the pre or post Cap era had the team dealing the G winning. That lead me to conclude that in the rare case of a top G being moved, the return should be higher.

      (4) Nonetheless, there is a BIG difference between comparing players and comparing their trade value.

      Many factors go into it. When Luo is traded you may be running around talking about how top G are worth the dismal return he will generate. That is false, Luongo’s contract will significantly reduce his trade value. Kipper’s contract is much more appealing.

      (5) Finally, the Hasek trade was a steal by the Wings. Buffalo was forced to trade him for financial reasons. Hence the error you make in the hit and run comment with the /facepalm – is that the trade here is not Hasek for Kipper.

      It is a low trade return for Hasek that is setting the trade return bar for Kipper and my proposals are even lower than the paltry return Hasek got.


      Hasek > Kipper.

      Hasek > then Hasek 2001 trade return therefore

      Kipper = Hasek 2001 trade return

  • RexLibris

    Isn’t Luongo 33 and Kipper 35?

    In Kipper’s favour – better numbers this year on a worse team with a much heavier workload… also he’s a goaltending robot, uh phased while Luongo has the mental strength of a meatloaf.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Of note on Kipper: although Luongo is agreed upon as the better goaltender by those into statistics (not even advanced ones, necessarily), the narratives around Kipper (for those who are into those sorts of things) favour him; he’s the quintessential “big save when his team needs it, nerves of steel, team carrying goalie”, whereas Luongo, as you noted, is considered to be a guy who will make most saves, but chokes when it matters most. Also, Kipper does make some insanely cool saves (probably a larger proportion of his saves are of the ridiculous variety than any other tender in the NHL).

    As many smart GMs as there are, we’ve seen and read enough interviews to consider the possibility that these narratives could have a very real effect on goaltender value.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I agree SoV. He may be overvalued in Calgary, but he still regarded a a big time commodity around the league, and narratives matter where trades are concerned.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Toronto is the best option. I doubt Burke takes Luongo’s contract and he needs a goalie. The Flames aren’t going for pure youth though. They still want to win. Perhaps Kipper for Madrid. Do Schen. Addresses a need for a potential 1C prospect and a top 4 D for Calgary. Both players are young but ready to play. Meanwhile Burke gets his goalie and gets rid of two guys that he hasn’t been high on.

  • I know this may sound biased but I have to disagree with the “Kipper is older and not as good” comment. Yes he is older, but you can’t compare the two teams skill wise at all, and Kipper steals a lot more games then Luongo, with less help in front of him by far.

    Anyways, still a very good read as always Kent !

  • Adding to my last comment, I also realize that you will get more years out of Luongo, but if you’re a manager, and believe your team has a bracket of 2 years or so to make a solid push, i’d go with Miikka. Even though he’s 36 this year, he is still just as athletically capable as any tender in the NHL, and has proven to be clutch.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Is anybody else looking at the western conference playoffs and thinking if we would have snuck in we would have as good a chance as anybody? I think we have the pieces to play a lock down game and we have a stud goalie as good as anybodies. Dont trade Kipper or Iggy, we still have a chance with this group! I think if we could land a number two dman to play with Bouwmeester, we would have one of the best shut down pairs in the league. Just tweak it, don’t burn it down!

    • ChinookArchYYC

      You are crazy – sorry no offense.

      The Flames are not better than a single team that has advanced. They would have met the Canucks (in a best case scenario) and would have been clobbered. LA is better than an 8th place seed, and we’re able to outlast Vancouver. Blow it up now, or wait for a 5 – 6 year rebuild after blowing it up, in a year or 2.