— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 28, 2013
This latest Roberto Luongo to the Islanders rumour is a nonsense leg slapper. But if the report is true, I’d have loved to be in the Canucks war room to see the look on Mike Gillis’s face when Islanders General Manager Garth Snow made the offer.
Read past the jump for more.
As bad as Roberto Luongo’s contract is, and you might recall that Luongo himself has admitted that his current deal "sucks," it’s not even in the same suckage stratosphere as Rick DiPietro’s life time pact.
Where Roberto Luongo consistently posts an elite even-strength save percentage, Rick DiPietro is the leagues worst regular starter over the past decade. Where a good portion of Roberto Luongo’s value comes from his workhorse durability, Rick DiPietro gets injured more easily than Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Unbreakable.
So what’s the possible incentive for the Canucks to do a straight up swap in which they exchange Roberto Luongo for unquestionably the single worst contract in professional hockey? Well if they’re going to excercise a compliance buyout on Roberto Luongo anyway, then trading Luongo for DiPietro would at least save the team three million dollars.
It would also allow the Canucks to avoid placing Luongo on waivers, which he’ll have to clear before he can be bought out because Luongo has a No-Trade Clause, not a No Movement Clause. If Luongo hits the waiver wire it’s possible he could be claimed by a conference rival (like the Oilers, perhaps), so I suppose there’s some value in controlling where Luongo ultimately lands instead of going the waiver route.
There’s some value in having more control in the situation sure, but not much of it. From the Islanders perspective, they’d be avoiding 24 million in sunk costs and upgrading their goaltending position significantly in one fell swoop. So it’s a total no brainer for Garth Snow. If this report is true, then Snow is essentially gambling that the Canucks might be desperate enough to save three million and ensure that Luongo doesn’t immediately improve a rivals goaltending. It’s a smart move.
But it’s also a bluff. Rick DiPietro isn’t an NHL caliber goaltender at this point, and it’s tough to envision the Islanders’ notoriously spendthrift ownership group buying him out (even though such a maneuver would be a slam dunk for a healthier NHL club). As such DiPietro is essentially a 4.5 million dollar liability through 2021, or a 1.5 million dollar liability through 2029. If the Islanders want to buy themselves out of that position, which is essentailly what they’re trying to do according to this Kypreos report, then it’s going to cost them more than three million dollars…