Report: Roberto Luongo alerted Canucks about pending retirement in 2019, but team chose cap recapture instead

Photo credit:© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
3 months ago
If there were going to be a Canucks version of the show ‘Marvel’s What If…?’, one of the first episodes would have to be, “What if… Roberto Luongo finished his career in Vancouver?”
According to the man himself, that option was very much on the table before Luongo officially retired during the 2019 offseason. During a recent December press conference, ahead of his induction in the Canucks’ Ring of Honour, Luongo said he would’ve been willing to rejoin the team and sit on Long Term Injured Reserve until his contract expired in 2022, but the decision to retire was made for him.
Today, we appear to have some clarity on why.
On Friday, The Province‘s Patrick Johnston included this nugget of info in his latest edition of Canucks Coffee:
“…A source reached out to answer the question that was left dangling after Roberto Luongo revealed a month ago that retiring, rather than going on LTIR, in 2019 wasn’t his choice.
Luongo did advise his agent at the time, Pat Brisson, to call the Canucks and let them know he wasn’t going to play anymore and that the Panthers were going to have him retire officially.
Luongo was very willing to live out the final three years of his deal on long-term injured reserve and this was made clear to the Canucks. The suggestion was that the Canucks trade for Luongo’s deal.
But for whatever reason, the Canucks never made the call and instead they were saddled with a cap recapture penalty.”
Both the Canucks and Panthers were in very different places back in 2019.
While Vancouver was in a position where acquiring Luongo would’ve prevented the need to ice a roster $3 million under the cap ceiling, the Panthers were in the business of trying to save every real dollar they could.
A cheap trade that would’ve brought Luongo back to Vancouver could’ve been a win-win for both teams, one that might’ve also opened the door for Luongo to join the Canucks’ front office.
Bobby Lu could’ve been like the Sedin twins, helping mentor the team’s next generation of players, like Thatcher Demko and Arturs Silovs. But for reasons we’ll likely never know, the Jim Benning-led Canucks seemingly never entertained it as a serious option and took on the cap recapture penalty instead.
The impact of that non-decision might not be felt as much nowadays. However, it’s still worth wondering what might’ve been different over those three crucial seasons if the team had an extra $3 million per season at their disposal.

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