Over the past week, Roberto Luongo was seen bluffing his way into the money in Las Vegas, while Mike Gillis was reeling in some truly mammoth Tuna in Panama. Meanwhile the Strombonian trade saga continued to drag on. The conflagration didn’t rest for Gillis’ vacation or Luongo’s card games, rather it had some gasoline poured on it this weekend courtesy a fascinating leak. Could super pest Dave Bolland, widely loathed Sedin nemesis, be headed to the Canucks in exchange for Vancouver’s former franchise netminder?
Read past the jump for more.
According to Jason Botchford, that very offer was on the table…
[Chicago] even reportedly dangled one of Vancouver’s arch-enemies, Dave Bolland, to the crew over at Rogers Arena. Now, that would take some getting used to, both for fans and players.
Bolland in the same locker-room as the Sedins? You could probably put their first handshake on PPV. Luongo with Patrick Kane? File it under ‘we’d have to see it to believe it.’
Huh, that seems odd. Dave Bolland is a valuable piece, and yet, when I listen to the radio in Toronto, the sports talk luminaries in that town are certain that Luongo has about as much value on the trade market as Keith Ballard.
Here’s a snippet from the Fan590’s Prime Time Sports show on July 12th (find the podcast here) featuring Sportsnet’s Don Taylor, Damien Cox and Bob McCown:
Don Taylor: "What are they going to get in return [for Luongo]? Is it going to be a hockey deal, or is it going to be "well we can’t get much here, let’s just free up some salary." It’s really intriguing.
Damien Cox: That’s what I said to Bob… You’re feeling like Mike Gillis may have set some expectations in terms of what they might be able to get in a deal, that he may or may not be able to realize?
Don Taylor: Reality is… at some point, first of all let me just back up a bit: I don’t think there’s any way they can start the season with both Luongo and Schneider. I think it’d be disastrous. I think other GMs know that, and are just waiting until Mike has to, I’m not saying give him away, but take a lesser deal. And I think that’s what’s going to happen and I don’t think know if that’s so bad!
First of all, you take care of the controversy and you free up 5.5 million in cap-space! You probably get something in return, I think that’s what’s going to happen if I had to predict.
Bob McCown: Why don’t they send him down? How’d you like to eat that contract!
(Conversation descends into mentions of Alexei Yashin, Sheldon Souray and Wade Redden, though Cox eventually admits that Luongo is more useful than those three players)
Granted, Damien Cox has been out in left field regarding the Canucks situation in net all summer, but the dichotomy here is interesting…
In some circles, the thinking goes that that Mike Gillis is asking for too much in return for Roberto Luongo, and that the 33 year old Olympic gold medalist has no value on the trade market. Bob Mckenzie has described the market for Luongo as soft, so has James Mirtle. Both have done so convincingly.
On the other hand, we’ve heard that the Maple Leafs offered the Canucks Luke Schenn at the draft (before subsequently sending him to Philadelphia in exchange for James Van Riemsdyk) and now we’ve heard that the Canucks were offered Bolland, and walked away from the deal. Schenn and Bolland aren’t top-50 NHL talents or anything, but they’re certainly useful, or potentially useful, assets.
This report of a Bolland offer from the Blackhawks comes to us from Canucks beat writer Jason Botchford, so I presume that this was a Canucks-side leak. Scuttlebutt always needs to be taken with a substantial heaping of salt, this bit of information could’ve been made public in part to help set the market, or to put pressure on other pursuers. Hell, it could’ve been leaked just to mess with Dave Bolland’s head during his summer vacation. Even Botchford cautions us not to "believe it" until we "see it."
If the reported Bolland offer is true, however, and I suspect it’s at least partially true, then that means that the Luongo market is beginning to harden somewhat. That’s an important development. Dale Tallon recently said he was still listening and open to a Luongo deal, and Stan Bowman didn’t deny it at the Blackhawks "summer summit" either. It’s also a good sign that none of the opposing General Managers involved (princiaplly Tallon, Bowman and Burke) have lobbed any grenades at Gillis, like Jim Rutherford did with Scott Howson, when Howson asked for Jeff Skinner in return for Rick Nash…
Until a deal goes down, the Luongo situation will hang like a cloud over the Canucks offseason. Mike Gillis, so far, has made good on his threat to be patient. If the market is in fact hardening beneath his feet, then his risky approach has been rewarded. Even so, don’t expect any deal to get ironed out and consumated any time soon.