Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has been relegated to backup status in his team’s series against the LA Kings, stoking speculation he could be dealt this summer.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes it is implausible Roberto Luongo will be back next season with the Canucks, having lost his starter’s job to Cory Schneider. Luongo has declined to speak to the press, but it’s believed at some point the fiercely competitive Luongo will have enough and either seek or accept a trade this summer. Botchford also claims there’s an “out clause” in Luongo’s contract for whatever club he plays for eight years into his deal. Having already played two years, Botchford claims whoever acquires Luongo could only be picking up six more years of his deal.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance points out Luongo has a “no-trade” clause. He also consulted with “a couple of NHL general managers” who doubt Luongo’s contract could be moved this summer. Custance believes the Canucks have three options: hope for an amnesty buyout in the next CBA, try to trade him to a limited number of teams (Florida? Tampa Bay? Toronto?), or keep him and deal with the subsequent salary cap difficulties which could come from having his $5.33 million per season salary eating into their cap space.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: David Shoalts provides more information on Luongo’s so-called “out clause”. “The only thing related to an out in Luongo’s contract is a modified no-trade clause. Within 48 hours of his team’s last game of the 2013-14 season, Luongo can provide his team with a list of five teams to which he would approve a trade. The trade would have to be done between July 1 and July 15 or by the end of the 15th day after the free-agent period opens. In 2018, if Luongo does not provide a five-team list within 48 hours after the last game of the 2017-18 season, his team can trade him to anyone prior to Sept. 1, 2018.”
Shoalts also listed possible trade candidates as “Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers. An argument could also be made for the New Jersey Devils, given Martin Brodeur’s advanced age, but their financial problems rule out taking Luongo’s contract.”
CBC.CA: Chris Iorfida also weighs in on Luongo’s situation, adding the Washington Capitals among the list of potential destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, not really much of an “out clause” there for any team willing to take on Luongo’s contract. As always, the devil’s in the details. Speaking of the Devils, they would be an intriguing destination if Brodeur retires, but of course there’s their oft-rumored financial problems, plus the fact we don’t know if Luongo would accept a trade to New Jersey.
Luongo has personal connections to Florida, but it remains to be seen if the Panthers are willing to bring him back, let alone if he’s keen to return there. Yes, the Lightning appear a great fit, but only if GM Steve Yzerman is willing to add Luongo’s big contract to a payroll which is already heavy with several expensive, long-term deals. Yzerman apparently wants a younger, less expensive option. The Capitals won’t need another goalie with Braden Holtby playing as well as he has in this year’s playoffs. I don’t see Luongo having interest in going to the Blue Jackets, given their woes over the years.
That leaves the Maple Leafs, meaning GM Brian Burke would have to find cap space for Luongo’s contract, as well as put aside his rumored feud with Canucks GM Mike Gillis. And of course, Luongo would have to agree to go there. Trading Luongo appears easier said than done. It’s not impossible, just very, very difficult.