The big story for the Canucks at the deadline was what didn’t happen. Roberto Luongo wasn’t shipped out of town as many expected he might be when he was pulled off of the ice just ten minutes prior to noon Pacific Time. Luogno was emotional at a press conference afterwards even admitting that his contract "sucks." Mike Gillis was a bit more circumspect.
Let’s roundup what’s being said about Vancouver’s inability to move their star backup goaltender elsewhere, on the other side of the jump.
Pierre LeBrun dissects the failed deal between Toronto and Vancouver:
Sources tell ESPN.com that the Canucks were willing to unload Luongo on Toronto for goalie Ben Scrivens and a pair of second-round picks in their final, final offer before the minutes ticked away.
The answer was still no by Toronto, which felt all along that no other team in the NHL was even remotely interested in Luongo and, because of that, the Canucks essentially should be giving him away….
… The failure of the Canucks and the Leafs to consummate a Luongo deal, however, will no doubt fuel bigger-picture conclusions and story lines from many.
Let’s face it, Leafs GM Dave Nonis and Canucks GM Mike Gillis don’t like each other, the latter replacing the former as GM in Vancouver.
Which no doubt will lead some people to wonder if Nonis all along wanted to string the Canucks along, only to leave them holding the bag on deadline day. Leafs sources vehemently denied that.
Jason Botchford gives us good reason to doubt Toronto’s intentions:
The Canucks put on a big push to move him in the final hour, making several calls to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But every time they called, the Leafs changed what they were willing to give up for him. One time it was nothing but a prospect. On the next call, it was only a player. Then it was just draft picks.
In the end, the Canucks asked for backup goalie Ben Scrivens and two second-round draft picks. Toronto still said no. That offer leaked out hours later.
As if Luongo’s pride hasn’t taken enough of a hit.
It leaves you wondering how serious the Leafs were, and if a lot of their alleged interest in Luongo was really a put on or a long con. If it was, and they were sure to always keep the dialogue going, that’s quite the emotional mudslide they dragged Luongo through.
Bruce Arthur on the impact of the cap-recapture clause (ironically known more commonly as "the Luongo rule"):
But Luongo was the potential franchise-changer for two Canadian teams, and afterwards he looked like a basset hound who had been kicked.
He’s not a tragic figure, obviously, but it’s easy to feel sympathetic for the guy, even if you don’t follow his delightful semi-anonymous alter ego on Twitter, @strombone1. The NHL had always warned that the long-term, long-tail deals that were splashed around during the life of the last collective bargaining agreement would be subject to penalty, and Luongo is the first one to feel its effects. Under the new CBA, the team that signed and the team that trades for a long-contract player will be penalized under the salary cap if that player retires before the contract ends. Luongo’s big money stops in 2018. There are four seasons left after that. Unless he plays until he’s 43, the contract is going to hurt somebody.
Harrison Mooney empathizes with the unfair spot Luongo finds himself in:
But, even more frustrating was that, in the final minutes before the deadline, it looked like they had done it. Luongo was pulled from practice, leading many to assume that the long-awaited deal had finally come to fruition. Instead, it turned out no deal had been made, and as they continued negotiating, they just needed him on hand in case they needed him to waive that no-trade clause at the wire. Then it turned out they didn’t.
The emotional rollercoaster was hard on Luongo. He admitted to feeling fine right up until yesterday, when it hit him that this could be it. And then, moments after he thought he was going to have to face the future, he’s right back in limbo.
"I’m not disappointed in the way I have handled the situation," Luongo said at one point, and he shouldn’t be. But clearly, he’s disappointed in the situation, and thats fair, because this situation no longer is.
Iain Macintyre calls out Mike Gillis’ asset management:
Luongo’s humility and loyalty to the Canucks and Schneider have been admirable, but it was clear today how disappointed he is that any resolution is now likely months away.
The Canucks should be disappointed, too. They will likely have $5.33 million worth of their salary cap sitting on the bench as they try to win a Stanley Cup, which is a poor use of their limited resources.
With Schneider starting after signing a three-year, $12-million deal, the money spent on Luongo would have been better deployed on a couple of players to upgrade the Canucks at other positions.
Finally, Cam Tucker zooms in on Mike Gillis’ post-deadline spin:
Gillis tried to downplay Luongo’s comments, as well as the contract being a prohibitive factor in trade talks surrounding the goalie.
“I think that he was very emotional and I think these days are emotional for everybody,” said Gillis.
“So, when you have a day like this where your whole life could be turned upside down, then you speak to you guys (media) right after, I think there’s an opportunity for things to be said that in the clear light of day might not be reflective of how he really feels.”
And the reasons, according to Gillis, why Luongo was not moved? “Basically, the discussions we’ve had, I still don’t think it’s as hard as people want to make it out to be,” said the GM.