As July heaves itself over the finish line this week, ushering in the saddest month of childhood, Roberto Luongo remains property of the Vancouver Canucks.
Reportedly, the Canucks rejected an offer from Chicago that included Dave Bolland a few weeks ago; and more recently, indications were that talks with the Florida Panthers – Luongo’s preferred destination – have jittered to a stalemate. According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, highly touted American sniper Nick Bjugstad is the sticking point, and the major factor holding up any possible transaction.
Read on past the jump.
In Allen’s latest he writes about, "10 Pressing Issues" that remain unresolved at this late juncture of the NHL offseason. On Luongo’s trade status, Allen has this to say:
The Florida Panthers are the best fit for the Vancouver Canucks goalie, but GM Dale Tallon won’t give up prized prospect Nick Bjugstad to land him. The Panthers are as excited about his potential as they are about Jonathan Huberdeau. Bjugstad is playing at the University of Minnesota and seems ready to play in the NHL. Luongo was popular when he played in Florida before, plus he could be the lift the team needs to offset big moves by the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. Canucks GM Mike Gillis is acting as if he is willing to go into the season with Luongo on his roster. But that would clearly be an uncomfortable situation with Cory Schneider seemingly set to be No. 1. Plus, no GM wants a $5.333 million cap hit as his backup goalie. [USA TODAY]
It was reported by the Fourth Period earlier this summer that the Canucks were "demanding" Bjugstad’s inclusion in any Luongo package, so Allen’s report isn’t exactly "new" information. If his information is accurate, however, what it does suggest is that the Canucks are standing firm with their asking price and Panthers continue to bristle. The report is interesting, but it does nothing to alter the current holding pattern between the two teams.
Also, while Bjugstad may be NHL ready, and certainly had one hell of a season in Minnesota last year, he’s going to play NCAA hockey next season regardless of which NHL club owns his rights.
So hunker down for the long-haul, Canucks fans. Even the man who will have "the final say" on whether a trade goes down, Mr. Roberto Luongo himself, seems to believe that any resolution on this front remains a distant prospect:
—Strombone (@strombone1) July 30, 2012