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So… Where does Roberto Luongo go now?

Jun 23, 2013, 2:09 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo AP

Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings, the one question that comes up now regarding the summer is simple:

Where does Roberto Luongo go now?

There was no secret about Toronto’s desire for Luongo and the rumors persisted for the better part of a year that he could wind up there. Now with Toronto out of the picture (unless GM Dave Nonis decides to get really crazy), the field of teams that could go after the high-priced Canucks netminder is axed by one. Here are a few candidates:

New York Islanders: Rick DiPietro isn’t the answer and Evgeni Nabokov is an elder statesman who looked weak in the playoffs. He’s also a free agent this summer. The Isles also have a disgruntled prospect who reportedly wants out in Nino Niederreiter who would make a great trade chip. The two teams have been linked before, so why not send Lu back to the Island?

Florida Panthers: Another former stomping ground for Luongo. He still lives there in the offseason and he even asked to be moved there last year. The Panthers’ incumbents next season are Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom and the latter struggled last season but the Panthers were also terrible. Luongo with a young team poised to climb like Florida would be a heck of a coup.

Phoenix Coyotes: So say the team gets a new owner and they’ve got money to burn. Sure they might bring back free agent Mike Smith, but hey, why not Luongo? He’d thrive in Dave Tippett’s system and we’re sure he’d love life in the desert or Seattle. This is a total stab in the dark, but if the team did move to Seattle he’d provide a big name and a reasonably familiar face.

Philadelphia Flyers: Ha ha ha ha… No, I don’t think so. Besides, they’ve already got Ilya Bryzgalov‘s monster contract they might buy out this summer.

  1. blomfeld - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    What Starts with a “T” and ends with an “A” ??? …

    You got it Pontiac ! … Tampa ! :)

    Tampa Bay is a large, natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay. “Tampa Bay” is not the name of any municipality. This misconception probably stems from the names of several local professional sports franchises (including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Rowdies) which seek to draw support from the entire Tampa Bay Area, the hub of which is the city of Tampa, Florida.

    the bottom line: Luongo goes to the Bolts, no two ways about it

    • mrpinkca - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      If you ignore the random videos, asinine geography lessons, and instead look at hockey things this doesn’t look likely at all. Tampa has 2 million in cap space, a GM raised in an organization that doesn’t believe in paying for goalies, a horrendous d-corps, and are already looking at buying out one contract.

      Also, if Loungo retires before 2021-2022 season (when he turns 42), both the Canucks and the lightning get screwed by the “Loungo Rule”.

      Long Island, maybe, otherwise it’d have to be a buyout.

      • blomfeld - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Try eating more fish Pink … it’s good for the brain !

        Speaking of brains by the way, or in your case a lack thereof, it doesn’t take much brain power to see what’s clearly going to happen here. To hell with your silly concerns about some ‘fake’ 2 million dollar remaining cap space ! You make a move here, another one there, show Saint the door and tell the Canucks to start ‘self-consuming’ a little bit of that idiotic contract and like ‘presto’ … things happen man ! I’m telling you right now that Luongo will go to TB, which will be made possible by Aquilini Investments taking at least a ’20 mil’ hit under the category of ‘depreciation’ … mark my words friend ! :)

        ps: I believe you’ll see Luongo thrive there, making the Bolts an immediate contender !

      • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        While blomfeld has clearly upped his idiocy, I wanted to comment on the cap recapture penalty you mentioned. For teams that are generally low spenders, the cap recapture rule would actually be helpful in that it’d give them ‘free’ cap space after a player retires. That way, they wouldn’t have to pay for another contract they don’t necessarily want just to reach the cap floor.

        Tampa has been spending more of late, so they aren’t exactly a floor team, but they could be a few years down the road if they can’t get things figured out. They haven’t been spending right to the cap either though, so what would probably be less than $2M in penalty for them after Luongo retires wouldn’t be that big an impact in either event most likely.

    • gooeyz - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Tampa has Bishop-Lindback next two seasons, Vasilevsky in the wings, no need for Luongo and his monster contract. Do agree he would make them better but how much better would it really be.

  2. 19to77 - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    What this really does is puts Vancouver in a brutal bind. None of those teams want anything to do with that contract – Florida is set on Markstrom as a starter sooner than a freaking decade from now, NYI and Phoenix wouldn’t be comfortable at all with the financial obligations over that long a term, and the Flyers will have had enough with neverending goalie contracts by summer’s end.

    What the Bernier trade actually does is force Gillis to finally buy out the contract. He should have traded one of his goalies last year. There are too many cheaper, shorter-term options (Smith, Halak, Backstrom) available now for anyone to risk the remaining 8-9 years of Luongo’s deal.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      No way this comes to a buyout. There are still teams interested in him, even if the contract is a hindrance. If no trade can be made (which I doubt) then Luongo would have to pass through waivers before being able to be bought out, and it’s extremely unlikely no team claims him for free there to avoid the bidding war that’d likely result if he became a UFA.

      Remember, his cap hit is good and it’s only the term that has any teams cautious about the contract. As I talked about above with the cap recapture, that could actually be a benefit to a number of teams if he retires early, and even keeping his cap hit around as a backup when he gets older would be a bonus for those teams as well.

  3. canucks30 - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    The Florida Panthers

  4. thos_prattt - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I don’t think Luongo to Toronto was going to happen after the trade deadline fiasco. If the scuttlebutt is true and Nonis suddenly started asking Gillis to retain money on Luongo’s deal less than 30 min before the deadline, and leaked the negotiation timeline to Darren Dreger, I would guess that poisoned things. Regardless of whether the Canucks will ultimately retain some of Luongo’s salary, it’s hard to see what happened at the trade deadline as anything but an attempt to humiliate Gillis and the Canucks.

    At this stage I believe the field is more open than the list above, especially if the Canucks retain some salary. Washington might like an upgrade in goal, especially if they don’t have to pay Luongo’s full salary. For Lu’s sake, I hope he ends up back home with the Panthers

    I am also not convinced that the Canucks, who appear to be in win now mode with the Tortorella hiring, won’t ultimately keep Luongo and trade Schneider, who I believe would bring a significant return.

    • tedyst - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      people forget,he goes where he wants as he has a no ttrade contract

      • thos_prattt - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        Very true, although it’s also true the Canucks could just waive him, in which case Luongo would lose that control.

      • bcisleman - Jun 23, 2013 at 11:23 PM

        The problem is that, as even he has said, no one wants his contract so he needs to go whereever he can unless and until he is bought out. And no one will claim him on waivers w/ that contract.

      • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        While that’s true, I’d guess his ‘acceptable’ list has gotten a lot longer the more time passes without a trade. He may have only been willing to take a trade to a handful of teams at the start, but would probably be more open to other teams now that need a goalie.

        For instance, I wouldn’t have put NYI on his acceptable list last year, but with the opportunity there now I’d think he’s much more open to going back to New York.

  5. devilsarethebest - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Hey Mr. Lamorielo , I heard you were looking for a new goalie.

    • 19to77 - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      I thought your master plan was to offer-sheet Bernier. =/

      • devilsarethebest - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        There are many options, sir. I haven’t even started on Smith and Backstrom yet.

      • Windmiller4 - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        Just gonna throw this out there, if Backstrom is one of your options then it’s not looking too good for your team

      • devilsarethebest - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Anything is an option right now. We need someone to take over the throne, and Kinkaid is still a few years out.

      • narfmoo12 - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        Any goalie who is a few years out should not even be considered. That’s how volatile young goalies are. Most flame out pretty quickly or never develop.

    • devilsarethebest - Jun 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Also, Miller, Halak, Fasth/Hiller.

  6. girouxed - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Oh flyers management. You’re so bad.

  7. biasedhomer - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Should have traded him last year, now they might not even find a take for him.

  8. bcisleman - Jun 23, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Joe, the Nino disgruntled aspect has been beaten to death not least of all by you. Nino’s only issue is that he wants to play in the NHL. If the Isles announced today that he was guaranteed a roster spot for 2013-14, there would be NO disgruntlement for anybody to talk about. The so- called trade demand was made by his agent and Nino simply went along with it. He would’ve been better advised IMHO to fire his agent and apologize to Mr. Wang. Nino hasnt’t played because he needed to develop as last year proved.

    Getting back to Wang, he may be bugging Garth to trade Nino because loyalty is a big issue w/ him and I am sure the trade demand didn’t set well. If he DOES trade Nino, however, Garth will NOT be doing it for a 34 yo who just had an awful regular season and has a horrible contract. Nino might get traded but for say Bobby Ryan or Jonas Hiller (with a few other pieces), but NOT for Luongo.

    Nucks Nation (beat writers included) have been clinging to some VERY misguided notions as to BobbyLu’s value. Apart from the issues I’ve mentioned, every GM w/ a brain & access to Cap Geek’s web site knows that Van has 6 roster spots to fill & about $47k in cap space to do it. The only big contracts Van has that are NOT tied up in clauses are RL’s, Ballard’s & Booth’s. Booth is on hold because he is unlikely to be healed from his ankle injury before September and is neither a valuable trade asset before then nor eligible for a buyout. Van MUST move or buyout RL & Ballard before FA starts so as to plan a strategy for filling out the roster. Ballard isn’t a valuable asset. Van will have to buy him out unless…

    About the only strategy that has a shot at working out to Van’s benefit and doesn’t involve them buying out RL AND Ballard is a trade with the Isles that sends RDP’s contract to Van and RL’s and Ballard’s to the Isles. Isles might throw in one or two minor assets to make it look better but NO Nino, NO Nelson or any high picks.Otherwise, Garth looks to FA or maybe, if Selanne and Koivu re-sign, a deal with ANA for Hiller.

    • jl9830 - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      100% right. Islanders aren’t trading Nino Niederreiter for a 34-year old goalie coming off his worst season signed for 8 more seasons…especially not with Miller, Hiller, Halak, Smith, Backstrom, etc. also available.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      You aren’t going to get rid of DiPietro in any deal bringing back someone like Ryan or Hiller though, so that’s perhaps where you’re misguided in what you think the value is there. The difference with the potential for a Ballard buyout (I laugh at the suggestion Luongo would get to a buyout) and one for DiPietro, is the Isles can’t afford to do that but a team like the Canucks can. The Isles would solve their question marks in net (he’s still a very good goalie despite what you say) and dump the worst contract in hockey all in one fell swoop.

      I think you undersell the potential value of Luongo (and even Ballard now that you’ve lost Streit for nothing but a pick) to the Isles compared to the negative hit DiPietro has on Wang’s bottom line financially. No one else is going to just take DP on as a charity case, so they’ll have to give up something better than “one or two minor assets” to make a deal work, especially if they get viable roster players back that fill a hole that is preventing the Isles from improving.

  9. LampyB - Jun 23, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    This board is for comments. Its not a personal blog. Also everyone seems to think he should have been traded last season. No one wanted to touch the contract, and it was too early for the canucks to absorb the financial hit. Was never going to happen.

    • bcisleman - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      I wrote a comment covering the aspects I thought were impportant. Point is the same issues are here now but it is time to do something. The cannot be kicked down the road any further and the windfall Gillis held out is no more realistic now than it was back then.

    • hockey412 - Jun 24, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      It seemed like a good comment to me.

  10. tuberippin - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Please, no Luongo contract on the Islanders. I like Luongo, but we already have one albatross contract (DP) in goal.

    • bcisleman - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Luongo could work IF Van is willing to take the RDP contract back (to buyout) and IF they dont insist on huge assets in return.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      As bcisleman mentioned, DiPietro would likely be coming back in a Luongo trade since the Isles can’t afford to buy him out. The trouble is, they also can’t afford to keep him so they have to find some way to get rid of him since he doesn’t actually contribute anything to the team when he can’t even play. That’s something Luongo does at least, and does well. If Luongo wasn’t useful in net still, there wouldn’t be rumours about teams still interested in him.

  11. barkar942 - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Well, it sounds as if a buyout is coming in Vancouver. Then, he can sign for league minimum with anyone. Canucks will have to bite the bullet on this one.

  12. mickboogy - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    I think these personal blogs are pretty entertaining.

  13. jl9830 - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Why on Earth are the Islanders going to trade anything of value for a declining 34-year old signed forever, when they could instead acquire Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, etc.? Makes zero sense. Unless they’re getting him essentially for DP (who would be bought out by VAN) and a 3rd or 4th rounder, it won’t happen. And even then, simply having him signed for so long is enough of a deterrent for the Isles to stay away.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Been mentioned a lot before this, but getting Miller, Hiller, etc. would do nothing to take DiPietro’s contract off the books. I agree completely that the Isles couldn’t afford to go after Luongo but keep DiPietro, so it goes without saying the Canucks take him back as a buyout candidate (since the Isles can’t afford too). It’s either that or the Isles try and find a different deal giving up assets to someone else to take on DiPietro, then try the UFA market – or trade more assets for another goalie (Miller and Hiller are both under contract still).

    • blomfeld - Jun 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      “Why on Earth are the Islanders going to trade anything of value for a declining 34-year old signed forever” …

      Jl9830 – Don’t worry friend as that’s ‘not’ going to happen … what ‘will’ happen however is this:

      A) Aquilini Investments restructures Luongo’s K by ‘writing off’ at least 20-25 million, thus leaving a much more ‘palpable’ circa 20 million over the next decade

      B) Aquilini Investments then sends Luongo to the Bolts and in return receives some worthless ‘face-saving’ asset(s) … Loo and wifey-poo very very happy !!! :) :) :)

      C) Aquilini Investments then liquidates Gillis in retaliation for the hideous financial loss and thereafter immediately promotes John Tortorella to the position of ‘Coach & GM’ of the Canucks

      there you have it friend, all gift-wrapped and ready to go ! :)

      ps: just ignore this ‘fake’ Elvis guy … he and a number of others here are nothing but ‘mouthpieces’ who go around promoting the official party line and nothing more …

  14. kaptaanamerica - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Can anyone say Toskala 2.0? Nonis is an idiot. Luongo would have given Toronto six solid years as a legit no.1 (including this season) and then mentored whoever was coming up in the process to take over.instead he takes a flyer on someone unproven and paid more for the privilege.bernier and nonis won’t be there in five years.Luongo will outlast both of them wherever he goes next.

  15. kaptaanamerica - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Anyone who thinks Luongo can’t play is clueless and should ask mommy to tuck them infor the night. The guy is alegit no.1. The #canucks might take an asset back but my feeling is someone will make a respectable offer for him.right now Luongo will go pretty much any where.the no trade clause it’s officially moot since Luongo said he’d rather just play.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      I haven’t read anywhere that Luongo wasn’t a good goalie

      • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        More than a few comments here that people think he isn’t.

        “a declining 34-year old”
        “some VERY misguided notions as to BobbyLu’s value”
        “no one will claim him on waivers”
        “force Gillis to finally buy out the contract”

        Sure, a number of comments relate to his contract and value as well, but if they really believed he was a good goalie who can really help a team as a starter still, then the contract would have nowhere near the impact people are suggesting. As I’ve mentioned before, the contract length and Luongo’s likelihood of retiring early could even be a benefit to a number of teams (two of which are interested at this point).

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        People on here are morons so I wouldn’t count them as reliable opinions.

      • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Absolutely, but it doesn’t mean that people aren’t saying it. And I won’t use Damian Cox as a source from the media, because he’s as bad or worse than most of the people on here.

    • bcisleman - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      Not a matter of whether he can play or not. He can. It is a question of whether he is worth big assets for another team and, given his age, recent play and burdensome contract, he simply is not. If he had a year or two left on his deal like Miller and was playing like an elite goalie, he would be worth a lot but that’s not the case.

      • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        Here’s where I might like clarification: why is it burdensome?

        Is it because of the length alone, when in all likelihood he’ll actually retire and remove the ‘extra’ years of his cap hit when his play starts to drop?

        Is it because if he does retire early, the cap recapture penalty will be too onerous for most teams to be competitive?

        Is it because of the actual salary paid during the next 4-5 years when he still has a reasonable cap hit and will likely be a very good goalie for at least 2-3 of those?

  16. canucks30 - Jun 23, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    I’ve never seen a story on PHT where virtually every comment has more down votes than up votes.

    Let’s face it, no one know what’s going to happen with Roberto Luongo.

  17. mclovinhockey - Jun 23, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Ummm bought out… Then who knows. Best offer usually for him is a late pick due to the contact. I would not be shocked if him and Bryz get bought out only due to contracts….

    I

  18. ray2013 - Jun 24, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    Luongo is still better than half the goalies in the league. His cap hit is $5.33 million, which is reasonable for a proven starter. If Kipper retires as expected, Luongo’s cap hit would be ninth among goalies in the NHL.

    But to trade him, there’s a few problems;

    1) his trade value is in the toilet – everyone knows MG has to get rid of Luongo. Who in their right mind is going to offer a bevy of players, picks and prospects for someone in Luongo’s situation? No one, at least since Howson and Tambellini got fired. So now MG looks like an idiot for promising the fans that he would get all three for Luongo on the market.

    2) perceived problem with his contract – he signed for 12 years and he has nine years left on his deal. He’s got five more seasons at $6.714 million in salary. It’s only my opinion, but that is probably as long as you’ll see him play. By then he will have earned $57 million of his $64 million dollar contract. I think most people are smart enough to see that the last four years on that contract were solely to cheat the cap, and lower his cap hit.

    3) limited number of teams in play – Luongo shot himself in the foot. He had a handful of teams that he would allow himself to be traded to. Everyone of those teams knew they had MG over a barrel, and low-balled him. I’ve seen talk in Edmonton over the past 18 months talking about how great it would be to have a starter like Luongo playing for the Oilers. He may not be the best Canadian goalie anymore, but he’s a darn sight better than a lot of starters in the NHL.

    If you knew that you’d only get Luongo for the next five years, with a cap hit of $5.33 million/year then the contract does not seem so ridiculous. You’d have a small penalty from the Cap Benefit Recapture when he retires in five or six years (see capgeek), but it wouldn’t be too onerous for either the Canucks or the team trading for Luongo. If you open up to teams to basically anyone willing to trade for Luongo, then the Canucks can find a better offer, and Luongo can move on from the ongoing drama.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      I don’t think anyone’s disputing his contract is back diving to reduce the cap hit, a bevy of players, picks and prospects shouldn’t be expected in return, or Luongo’s limited destinations haven’t affected things to this point. I’d argue though there are teams that actually would benefit from Luongo retiring early due to his contract, a good deal with value coming back to the Canucks can still be had without a king’s ransom, and Luongo is more open on his list of destinations (which he hasn’t ever really given anyway) to better facilitate a trade.

      • ray2013 - Jun 24, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        I was just pointing out there are rational reasons to trade for him, that he would help a number of teams. But Luongo would need to open himself up to the possibility he won’t get to pick his destination, and MG might have to trade within the Conference, or even within the division if he’s going to get the best return possible.

        There is a solid core of fans who speak as if Luongo was the worst goalie that ever played, or that he is somehow a cheater for having those bogus years at the end of his contract to circumvent the cap or that his contract is the worst ever. And there might be some cap benefit recapture impacts to the salary cap of Vancouver and whoever trades for Luongo, but that’s in five or six years. Someone will roll the dice.

      • elvispocomo - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        Even then, the cap recapture is under $2M for both the Canucks and the team that trades for him if Luongo retires in, let’s say 5 years. He’s hardly the only player with a contract like that (he wasn’t even the first, Zetterburg, Franzen and Hossa all signed theirs before Luongo) and he’s still a quality goalie unlike a number of others on similarly expensive deals.

        I think we generally agree on the other points though.

  19. reddawgsrule - Jun 24, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Where does Longo go??? … wherever there’s a door wide and large enough to fit his massive ego.

    • blomfeld - Jun 24, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Allow me to indulge you friend …

      A) Aquilini Investments restructures Luongo’s K by ‘writing off’ at least 20-25 million, thus leaving a much more ‘palpable’ circa 20 million over the next decade

      B) Aquilini Investments then sends Luongo to the Bolts and in return receives some worthless ‘face-saving’ asset(s) … Loo and wifey-poo very very happy !!! :) :) :)

      C) Aquilini Investments then liquidates Gillis in retaliation for the hideous financial loss and thereafter immediately promotes John Tortorella to the position of ‘Coach & GM’ of the Canucks

      there you have it friend, all gift-wrapped and ready to go ! :)

      • reddawgsrule - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        I can’t imagine the Sedin brothers playing for Tort. BC will never be the same.

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