Trade rumors have swirled around Roberto Luongo for the bulk of the 2011-12 season. These rumors culminated in the playoffs when the Canucks opted to use goaltender Cory Schneider over Luongo as soon as the team found themselves in an 0-2 hole. This move all but assured a fact most fans have known for quite some time – Cory Schneider is the goalie of the future for Vancouver.
As the Canucks bowed out of the first round at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, the question was asked – would Luongo waive his no-trade clause if he was asked to?
TSN.ca reports that Luongo would be willing to waive his clause if he was asked to do so. He was quoted as saying that he wants to do whatever is best for the team and if it means he would be dealt to a new team, so be it. Luongo said he knows Schneider will be an elite netminder for years to come and that he is clogging the path between the young netminder and stardom.
At age 33, Luongo recently completed just the second year of his mammoth 12-year, $64 million contract. In other words, any team that wants to add Luongo to their ranks will have a sizable check to write seeing as he still has a whopping 10 years left on his current deal. One has to imagine that if the Canucks want to deal Luongo they will be forced to eat some of the contract that has an average cap hit of $5,333,333 a year.
Assuming Vancouver takes some of the financial burden off of a potential suitor, which team(s) might be interested in Luongo’s services?
Odds are that we need to look East to find a potential landing spot for Luongo. If this year’s NHL playoffs have taught us one thing, aside from the fact that the old guard has been overthrown, it’s that the West has been thriving on solid goaltending while the East have all but made a mockery of the position.
Puck Drunk Love’s very own Laura Astorian wrote about this earlier today, discussing the rise of goaltending talent in the Western Conference. The four contenders left in the West sport some of the best goaltenders in the NHL through LA’s Jonathan Quick, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, Phoenix’s Mike Smith and St. Louis’ Brian Elliott/Jaroslav Halak.
On the East, the names are lacking outside of New York’s Henrik Lundqvist. Realistically, Martin Brodeur is no longer an elite goaltender in the NHL and New Jersey will need a new option. Ottawa is rolling with Craig Anderson. Philadelphia is using both Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes which partially led to an explosive offensive series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This isn’t to say Luongo won’t end up remaining with the Canucks or won’t end up with a Western team. Simply put, there are numerous clubs that would be receiving a hefty upgrade by bringing Luongo into the mix – assuming the price is right.