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Luongo: “It’s been a great six years, but it’s time to move on”

Jul 6, 2012, 1:23 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

How quickly can things change in sports?

Well, here’s what Vancouver GM Mike Gillis said less than three years ago after signing his franchise goalie to a 12-year contract extension:

“Today is a very exciting day for the Canucks organization. Roberto Luongo is the leader of our hockey team; he is in the prime of his playing career and has a tremendous desire to make the Canucks a championship team. His leadership, competitiveness and character are what this team will represent for many years to come.”

And here’s what Luongo reportedly said today on Vancouver radio:

“It’s been a great six years, but it’s time to move on.”

If there was any doubt he was on his way out, that should put a stop to it.

So far as potential trading partners, Florida seems to have emerged as the favorite to land Luongo; however, one could easily argue the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets have more pressing goaltending concerns. Whether he’d waive his no-trade clause to go to Toronto or Columbus isn’t clear though.

But was Luongo’s willingness to say “it’s time to move on” a sign a deal is imminent?

Update: Here’s the full transcript of the interview, and here’s his exact quote when asked if he could be wearing a Canucks jersey next season:

“Never say never, but I think we all know what’s going on, we’ve all seen what’s developed. At the end of the day I think it’s time to move on, and I’m OK with that. I’ve had a great six years in Vancouver and I think it’s a wonderful city. I really enjoyed my time there. Sadly I could never win a Cup there, which is probably my greatest regret, but it was a great six years.”



Related: Canucks, Cory Schneider agree to three-year deal

  1. sknut - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    If he is going to say that then he better be ready to move on to other teams. If you want out then make the concessions to make it happen. Lunongo can’t have it both ways.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      He just seriously weakened Gillis’s position with that statement. Last I heard Luongo was trying to force a trade to Florida but Tallon wouldn’t give up much. Now Tallon has all the leverage and can give up next to nothing. That means, like you said, Luongo won’t be able to have it both ways. He’ll either have to agree to go to a team that offers the Canucks a better return or awkwardly stay put.

      • drewsylvania - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        Unless the trade has been finalized but not yet announced. I expect to hear that he’s been traded either later today or tomorrow.

  2. ras1tafari - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I hope every GM in the NHL reads this story, and starts to undertand why signing guys to dozen year+ contracts are a stupid idea.

    • therealjr - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      It’s usually to lower the cap hit. Luongo will be moved, how is that such a problem for Vancouver?

      • Jason Brough - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Depends what they get back. No team wants to give up all-stars for free.

      • lordfletcher - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        Florida get Luo for a late round pick


      • therealjr - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        They’re not giving up an all-star free, if he were an all-star (in the true sense) they wouldn’t be moving him. They also could have let him walk as UFA, but circumstances dictated that wasn’t the move to make at the time. They’re out a few extra million for their trouble, that’s the cost of doing business.

      • Jason Brough - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        They’re moving him because they like Schneider more. A team can have two strong goalies, but eventually they have to choose one or the other or both of them end up unhappy. If Luongo had, say, three years left with a $7 million cap hit, it’s a much different story.

    • mattj2524 - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Gotta hope it’s something the league and it’s GMs can address during the CBA talks.

  3. DED - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Luongo for Nash. 😉

    Yeah, I know. Neither team is on the other’s approved list. I just think it fits given the situation.

  4. grillmarks - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Come to Chicago!!!

  5. jpat2424 - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    No to Chicago. Don’t want ya

  6. bcisleman - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    When will it be time to end Gillis’ tenure? His accomplishments? Trading for Ehrhoff and Ballard and extending the Sedins and Lu. Ehrhoff is gone, Lu has one foot out the door and Ballard is a dead weight most Nuck fans would like to see the back of. Gillis sole remaining accomplishment is extending the Sedins. If the Nucks want to drink from the Cup, they’d better get a new GM before the Sedins start to fade.

    • mattj2524 - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      most Nuck fans want to see Ballard’s back end???

      get’s pretty cold up north, eh guy?

    • davebabychreturns - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Are you joking? This year’s playoff failure aside the Canucks have had more success than any team not named the Bruins or Kings over the last two seasons and probably more than any team not named the Blackhawks Bruins or Kings in the last three.

      He’s brought in a key unrestricted free agent in Dan Hamhuis and several other key supporting players in Manny Malhotra, Mikael Samuelsson, etc (Canucks fans will recall when our free agent acquisitions were Aaron Miller and Brad Isbister) and turned the page on several long-serving Canucks to help foster a new identity – guys like Ohlund, Mitchell, Naslund, Morrison, now Salo and eventually Luongo.

      He’s signed several players to extensions well below the market rate – the Sedins, Ryan Kesler, Alex Edler, Alex Burrows might be on the league’s best contract right now, etc.

      Gillis is not superhuman but you have to omit huge swathes of his track record to think it’s time to can him…

      Although I trust an Islanders fan to ignore a team’s record on the ice in evaluating the performance of their General Manager. 😀

  7. bucrightoff - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    If Gillis wants a decent return, he’d be better off waiting until the midseason point and seeing which teams have goaltending issues or which teams suffer injuries at the position. But right now they have no leverage whatsoever with Luongo willing to only go one place.

  8. CJ - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Flyers will take him for Bryz and a couple picks.

    • mattj2524 - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      Ummmm, no we won’t. Don’t you think maybe patience and a larger body of work than one season is necessary before writing him off completely?

      If 33-16, a .909%, and 2.49 GA is a terrible season by most Philly fans standards, don’t you want to at least take a chance that he’s going to have a good year next year?

      • CJ - Jul 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        sorry, there’s no sarcasm font here. like anyone would take Bryz’s contract anyway.

  9. ray2013 - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Nice game of brinksmanship going on here. Either Gillis lowers his demands or Tallon ups his offer to get this trade done; and you have Luongo stirring the pot saying he won’t be back.

    Looking at this objectively, it’s probably in Luongo’s best interests to lower his trade value to Florida, so that they retain as many talented players as possible and at the same time, refuse to allow any other teams to negotiate. That’s not a hockey way of doing things, but it seems to be part of the equation going on here.

  10. loinstache - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    As toxic as the situation may become, I would rather Gillis keep Luongo (for further trade options) than allow Luo to talk his way to a smaller return from Florida. It’s been good Luo, but not good enough that the team should take unneeded sacrifice to meet your trade demands.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Then what happens if Schneider starts off slow next year and the fans start chanting for Luongo? What does that do for the team or for Schneider’s confidence? Plus then youre counting on a goalie whos not really interested in being there to come in and make things better. The Canucks want to go in that new direction and I think in this situation they have to get rid of Luongo in order to do it.

      Its different from the Nash case in the fact that Luongo didn’t demand a trade so much as the Canucks decided they were going in a different direction.

      • loinstache - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        Pretty sure it’s clear luo unofficially asked to be moved, in which case the ball is not in his court. Furthermore it’s in his best interest in the unlikely scenario he stays part way and must play as he’s the one who wants to be moved and must impress interested teams.

      • loinstache - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        *best interest to play well

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        True I believe he did ask to be moved after the season however the Canucks made their decision to go forward with Schneider when they started him in game 3 (ironically after Luongo had played fairly well in games 1 and 2) and yes it is possible they could bring him back if they want but IMO that’s just a situation that begs for problems.

        But as a Flames fan I wouldnt be upset seeing the Canucks filled with team turmoil.

  11. cloudniner9 - Jul 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Odd how he takes them to two presidents trophies and game seven of the finals in 2 years, but it’s his fault they couldnt score enough goals, it will be ironic if he wins a cup with his next team

  12. blomfeld - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:45 PM


    The similarities between the Luongo and Reeves contracts are positively uncanny …

    Reeves: $62,000,000 for 6 x years … finished as a starter after 2 seasons

    Luongo: $64,000,000 for 12 x years … finished as a Canuck after 2 seasons

    Reeves wanted to go home to Oklahoma and now Luongo wants to go home to Florida. So folks need to save all this “cute” talk about Toronto, Chicago, etc … it simply ain’t gonna happen. The bottom line is that Luongo is headed to the state of Florida … probably with the Panthers, though possibly still to the Lightning, as I have suspected from the start ? Regardless, the Canucks in the end will do well just to “unload” this guy, together with his repulsive contract. Tallon however knows that and so he’ll behave accordingly, by simply stringing Gillis out to the end of the summer. When all is said and done, I could very well see the Canucks being obliged to surrender some talent “in addition” to Luongo, just to “sex up” this transaction for a “would be” taker (ie: Tallon and Yzerman) … call me crazy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that involved the likes of Burrows or Edler ?

    Someone above mentioned that all GM’s should take heed from this financial travesty and I agree with that completely. What I don’t understand is how someone like Gillis, who purports himself as being “all that”, can go ahead and commit such vast sums of “other” people’s money, to a person who just finished building his “dream home” in his hometown right before being traded ? … where is the due diligence Gilles ? … please answer that ? …

    • loinstache - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:28 AM

      Normally your comments are fringe but at least momentarily acknowledgeable. Saying they have to trade one of their obvious franchise players to move an all-star whose void has already been filled? That’s straight crazy, sir.

      • blomfeld - Jul 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        Loincloth – fair enough, as we’ll see what happens with this soon enough … but your definition of “crazy” is misguided friend … what’s “crazy” is expecting a team to “willingly” part with 54 million “bottom line” dollars for a recently demoted, selfish, petulant “bitter” goaltender, who is undeniably in decline and likely to be out of the league within 3-5 years … that sir is crazy ! … yes, things would be quite different if Luongo didn’t have this $54 million dollar “ball and chain” attached to him … but he does and that completely negates any potential trade value for the man … you have to remember that both Florida teams can make do without him … the Canucks on the other hand “cannot” and “will not” start training camp with Luongo on the roster … because of that fact alone, all Tallon and Yzerman have to do is sit back and let Gillis squirm … sooner or later he’ll cave in and “beg” someone to take this fool .. and that’s where I see some additional “assets” being offered up in an act of desperation … Burrows, Edler, perhaps even a sister ? … we’ll see eh ? :)

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