Strombabble: Leafs and Canucks Reportedly Talking Luongo Trade Again

Could Tyler Bozak and Roberto Luongo be trading places next week?
Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Canadain Press, Darryl Dyck

Earlier this week Jason Botchford told us to expect the Canucks to make a push to move Roberto Luongo in advance of Wednesday’s trade deadline. On Friday evening, the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks "quietly" resumed trade discussions centring around Vancouver’s star backup. 

On the one hand, that makes sense. On the other, I’m not sure how much we should trust Cox after he quite blatantly contradicted himself on the whole "Mike Gillis turned down Kadri" line of criticism. Generally speaking I tend to buy Cox’s information, he has proven that he has an axe to grind on this particular topic, and so we should probably proceed with caution…

Which we’ll do after the jump. 

Here’s the compelling two paragraphs of Cox’s report:

"…Talks between the Canucks and Maple Leafs quietly resumed this week after weeks of silence between the two teams.

That doesn’t mean a deal is at hand, although it’s believed Vancouver GM Mike Gillis is no longer demanding the likes of Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner in a proposed trade. Gillis has a troubling hole to fill at centre and Tyler Bozak remains a comfortable fit."

All of this makes sense to me (well except the part about Bozak being anything resembling the answer at centre for Vancouver). We’ve heard whispers elsewhere, like from Jason Botchford and Darren Dreger, that Mike Gillis’ asking price in a potential Roberto Luongo deal had gone down over the past six-to-eight weeks. Toronto has cap-space and while James Reimer is a relatively capable NHL starter, Roberto Luongo is an elite goaltender and a name and a face for MLSE ownership (Rogers and Bell) to promote. 

On the other hand, the rest of Cox’s article is spent waxing on about how much leverage the Maple Leafs have in these talks. Apparently instead of committing to Roberto Luongo’s life time deal they can go out and get Miika Kiprusoff (who is probably not going anywhere for reasons that have nothing to do with money, so logically a two year extension won’t change his mind) and Mike Smith (currently out with a concussion, not realy an upgrade over James Reimer). 

This all pretty much illustrates the central conflict with a Damien Cox report for our purposes. We buy the substance, it’s just buried in unconvincing editorialized nonsense.

Like when Cox writes about Luongo’s contract and Vancouver’s urgency to trade the goaltender before the deadline: "Few teams can handle that contract, and fewer still will want Luongo this summer with the cap going down." Maybe I’m crazy, but why exactly would three months change the basic salary cap arithmetic for other clubs? Every General Manager knows the cap is going down anyway, it’s not like there’s going to be teams that are surprised or caught off guard when they see they have to operate within the parameters of a ~64M dollar salary cap again. Well, maybe Jay Feaster in Calgary.

So in summary: the Canucks are reportedly pushing to move Luongo, and according to Cox they’re talking to Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs with Bozak possibly being Vancouver’s primary target. Man, if Dave Nonis manages to trade for Roberto Luongo for a second time in his career as a General Manager, and in total gives up seven games worth of Todd Bertuzzi and fourteen or so regular season games worth of Tyler Bozak, I’d call that impressive. 

Read Damien Cox’s full report at the Toronto Star site today.

  • Bjk

    Oh Cox. I’ve read about 2 articles, and both of them have bashed the Canucks org, trashed Gillis as a GM (despite him winning GM of the yr 2yrs ago) and criticized Luongo and his contract (like it’s the only one in the NHL). He’s clearly not a fan of Vancouver, he’s made that VERY clear over the years. Any info he’s had re: Luongo has not been accurate thus far. Some of the things he pumped out last summer was hilarious.

    Is Nonis calling about Luongo? OF course he is, he wants to keep his job. While his goalie tandem hasn’t been horrid, over an 82 game season that team ain’t making the playoffs – and he knows it. But he better join the line of teams cause according to Botch, Washington joined the party now too. And Aaron Portzline stated goalie talks have heated up in last week. So Nonis won’t be the only one calling.

  • Bjk

    I don’t see why the Leafs would trade Bozak when Carlyle loves him so. It might be wishful thinking, but Grabovski has been terribly misused this year in Toronto and would be a perfect fit in Vancouver.

    Again, might be wishful thinking, but Grabovski seems more like a Gillis guy than Bozak, and Bozak’s been used much more heavily in Toronto than Grabovski has been.

  • JCDavies

    Someone would lose this trade horribly. Us because we gave up an all-star ‘tender for next to nothing, or them, because they gave up too much for an unnecessary upgrade.

  • JCDavies

    It is getting difficult to imagine a situation where the Canucks come out looking good in this. Even if the Canucks receive a good return for Luongo they are probably going to get buried in an tsunami of negative press. They will probably have to hit a home run for the trade to by viewed as a Vancouver win. Toronto will have a field day with this.

  • JCDavies

    What are they going to do with Grabovski? His cap hit is higher than Kesler’s and he’s half the player. The Canucks need to get out from under their cap problems with this deal and whatever they do with Ballard because there isn’t much else they can do.

    Meanwhile, Cox really needs to shut up. No one, NO one, wants Bozak. I’d rather take a first rounder and nothing else.

    • Fred-65

      Bozak’s being used on the first line in Toronto and is putting up points and winning faceoffs, despite mediocre underlying numbers. Lots of people (including the Leafs, apparently) want him.

      As for Grabovski’s cap hit and ability, no, he’s not Kesler, but there are only a few Keslers in the league. Grabovski is a good second/third line centre, which is what Vancouver desperately needs. Yes, his cap hit’s too high, but the Canucks are going to have to take something back in return for another team taking on the burden of Luongo’s contract. I’d actually be amazed if the Canucks could get Grabovski in a straight-across trade for Luongo.

  • Fred-65

    The bottom line MG over estimated Luongo’s value. Now we pick up the pieces and make do with scraps. Luongo didn’t help when he turned down the summer move to TO

    The NTC are going to become a nightmare in the future, as it has in the NBA and the Miami Heat picking up many of the star players and now Pitts in the NHL. Win 14 straight and now add Murray, Morrow and Iginla. Where is the point to the play-offs. Give the bums the cup and lets go on vacation. Apparently during all the period of time when the lockout was trundling along no one though fit to address this problem and it’s going to be years before it can be corrected. 🙁